LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL by liwenting

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                                   LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
                                                 Wednesday 1 December 2010

                                                            __________

         The Deputy-President and Chair of Committees (The Hon. Kayee Frances Griffin), in the absence
of the President, took the chair at 11.00 a.m.

        The Deputy President (The Hon. Kayee Frances Griffin) read the Prayers.

                                                 BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

                                                     Precedence of Business

        Motion by the Hon. Tony Kelly agreed to:

        1.      That on Wednesday 1 December 2010 Government Business take precedence of debate on Committee Reports and
                Budget Estimates.

        2.      That on Thursday 2 December 2010 Government Business take precedence of General Business.

                                          WOMEN IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

        Motion by the Hon. Helen Westwood agreed to:
        That this House:

                (a)        notes that 2010 is the Year of Women in Local Government;

                (b)        acknowledges the great contribution women have made to local government in New South Wales;

                (c)        recognises the need to increase women’s representation in decision making roles in local government across
                           New South Wales, particularly as councillors, mayors and senior managers;

                (d)        applauds the work of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association in developing the National
                           Framework for Women in Local Government; and

                (e)        applauds the Federal and State governments for supporting and resourcing programs aimed at increasing
                           women’s participation and representation in local government.

                                                      PALLIATIVE CARE

        Motion by the Hon. Greg Donnelly agreed to:

        That this House:

                (a)        acknowledges the importance of the provision of palliative care as part of a comprehensive health care system;

                (b)        expresses appreciation to the specialist doctors, general practitioners, nurses, allied health professionals and
                           volunteers who provide palliative care in hospitals, hospices and homes throughout New South Wales;

                (c)        recognises the excellent work being done by Palliative Care NSW to promote and support individuals and
                           families across the State; and

                (d)        congratulates the Cancer Institute of New South Wales, the University of Notre Dame Australia and the
                           Cunningham Centre for Palliative Care for their collaboration in creating the first Academic Chair in Palliative
                           Care Nursing in this State.

                                               NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE

         The Hon. HELEN WESTWOOD [11.03 a.m.]: I seek leave to amend Private Members' Business
item No. 91 outside the Order of Precedence for today of which I have given notice by omitting "misogynistic
practice of" and inserting instead "practice of misogynistic".

        Leave granted.
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        Motion by the Hon. Helen Westwood agreed to:
        That this House:

        (a)     commends the courage and strength of the women who spoke out on the ABC Television Four Corners program Code
                of Silence about a culture of disrespect for women and the practice of misogynistic group sex that exists within the
                National Rugby League (NRL),

        (b)     acknowledges the hurt and pain these women and others suffered during these incidents of sexual misconduct and
                through the retelling of their stories so that this barbaric practice is now exposed to the general community,

        (c)     calls on the NRL to monitor players' behaviour and attitudes towards women that lead to such abhorrent sexual
                practices, and continue to implement education programs that address these attitudes and lead players to develop healthy
                attitudes towards women and sexual relationships, and

        (d)     calls on the NRL to ensure women are better represented in positions of decision-making, influence and power
                throughout the NRL and its affiliated clubs.

                                          ASBESTOS-RELATED DISEASES

        Motion by the Hon. Greg Donnelly agreed to:

        That this House:

        (a)     notes that this week is Asbestos Awareness Week,

        (b)     notes that Asbestos Awareness Week aims to commemorate those lives that have been touched and affected by asbestos-
                related conditions as well as highlight the dangers of asbestos,

        (c)     supports measures to raise awareness about the dangers of handling and disposing of asbestos products and to protect the
                community from exposure to asbestos, and

        (d)     remembers those lives touched by asbestos and expresses gratitude to those who have worked so hard to bring it to the
                community’s attention.

                                      MARINE RESCUE NEW SOUTH WALES

        Motion by the Hon. Ian West agreed to:

        That this House:

        (a)     commends the tireless work and dedication shown by more than 2,500 volunteers for Marine Rescue NSW,

        (b)     notes the generosity of the New South Wales public in providing donations to help Marine Rescue NSW save lives on
                our waterways, and

        (c)     notes the unique contribution made by Marine Rescue NSW to the continued enjoyment of marine activities.

                                                   SCREEN INDUSTRY

        Motion by the Hon. Helen Westwood agreed to:

        That this House:

        (a)     acknowledges the significant financial contribution made to New South Wales by the screen industry,

        (b)     notes that strong creative industries are key drivers of economic growth and innovation, and

        (c)     notes the leadership demonstrated by New South Wales in the screen industry as a premier screen production, promotion
                and exhibition destination.

                                                        RADIOTHERAPY

        Motion by the Hon. Christine Robertson agreed to:

        That this House notes that:

        (a)     New South Wales has some of the best outcomes for cancer patients in the world,

        (b)     the need for radiotherapy is growing,
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       (c)     it is important for patients to receive cancer treatment as close to home as possible, and

       (d)     the announcement of funding of Regional Cancer Centres is a welcome boost for regional communities and means more
               patients in areas outside of Sydney have better access to life saving treatment.

                                                    MINING INDUSTRY

       Motion by the Hon. Christine Robertson agreed to:

       That this House:

               (a)        notes the important ongoing contribution of the mining industry to the New South Wales economy,

               (b)        notes that the mining industry supports the manufacturing, construction, banking and financial, engineering,
                          property and transport sectors, and

               (c)        acknowledges the Government’s commitment to ensuring the sustainability of the State’s great natural
                          resources for current and future generations.

                                                TIMBER PLANTATIONS

       Motion by the Hon. Christine Robertson agreed to:

       That this House notes:

       (a)     the important role timber plantations perform for the New South Wales economy,

       (b)     the contribution timber plantations make to rural communities in the State, and

       (c)     the significant plantations establishment program Forests NSW have in place for the coming season.

                                               BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

                                           Formal Business Notices of Motions

        Private Members' Business item No. 189 outside the order of Precedence objected to as being
taken as formal business.

                                                 ABORIGINAL HEALTH

       Motion by the Hon. Christine Robertson agreed to:

       1.    That this House notes that:

               (a)        Premier Kristina Keneally and Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell signed Oxfam's Close The Gap Statement of
                          Intent on behalf of the Parliament of New South Wales to improve Indigenous health and life expectancy, and

               (b)        the proportion of preventable deaths is higher among Aboriginal people than non-Aboriginal people in New
                          South Wales.

       2.      That this House calls on both sides of the House to work together to address the social determinants that impact health
               equality for Aboriginal Australians.

                           NEW SOUTH WALES WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

       Motion by the Hon. Helen Westwood agreed to:
       That this House notes that:

       (a)     applications for the New South Wales Woman of the Year Award opened on 19 October 2010,

       (b)     members of Parliament and members of the community are encouraged to submit a nomination for this award,

       (c)     the award recognises women who have motivated other women, made a difference for women and girls in New South
               Wales and demonstrated excellence in their field, and

       (d)     the award will be presented as part of 2011 International Women’s Day celebrations.
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                                              BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

                                         Formal Business Notices of Motions

        Private Members' Business item No. 216 outside the order of Precedence objected to as being
taken as formal business.

                PARLIAMENT OF NEW SOUTH WALES ABORIGINAL ART PRIZE

        Motion by the Hon. Christine Robertson agreed to:

        1.    That this House notes that:

              (a)     the winner of the sixth Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize was the Euraba Artists and
                      Papermakers from Boggabilla and Toomelah for their collaborative work, Gaduu-Murray cod,

              (b)     this work was described by the judges as "a key work in the relatively short history of the prize. The work is
                      also a sign of the quality and ingenuity of the paper movement at Boggabilla and Toomelah, certainly one of the
                      most important in New South Wales",

              (c)     this art work was a collaborative effort involving the following artists: Thelma Bartman, Leonie Binge, Lola
                      Binge, Michelle Binge, Adrienne Duncan, Alin Duncan, Aunty Joy Duncan, Christine Dumas, Nerida Hinch,
                      Marlena Hinch, Aunty Marlene Hinch, Aunty May Hinch, Garry McGrady, Leah McGrady, Tim McIntosh,
                      Stella O’Halloran, Anita Swan, Lenice Swan, and

              (d)     individual members of the Euraba Artists and Papermakers collective also had a number of entries among the
                      43 finalists, and these were:

                      (i)        Lola Binge – Sun rising,

                      (ii)       Christine Dumas – Native flowers,

                      (iii)      Aunty Joy Duncan – Storm Fish II,

                      (iv)       Beverley Aunty May Hinch – Waterholes,

                      (v)        Garry McGrady – Waterhole.

        2.    That this House:

              (a)     thanks the judges, Dr Romaine Moreton, Daniel Browning and Djon (John) Mundine for their time and
                      dedication to the promotion of Aboriginal art,

              (b)     recognises and appreciates the contribution of the partners in the prize:

                      (i)        Campbelltown City Council, which produces and curates the exhibition,

                      (ii)       Museums and Galleries NSW, which assists with touring the exhibition to regional galleries,

                      (iii)      College of Fine Arts, which sponsors the professional development award won this year by Fabri
                                 Blacklock for Gupi Yungera (Possum skin cloak), and

              (c)     congratulates the winning artists and all the finalists.

                                            NEONATAL HEALTH CARE

        Motion by the Hon. Helen Westwood agreed to:
        1.    That this House notes that:

              (a)     November 2010 is Miracle Babies Month, and

              (b)     every year in Australia around 42,000 babies require the help of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or
                      Special Care Nursery (SCN).

        2.    That this House:

              (a)     commends the work of the Miracle Babies Foundation, which strives to raise community awareness and
                      knowledge of this prevalent national issue and the ongoing challenges faced by these babies and their families,
                      and

              (b)     acknowledges the physical and emotional challenges that are faced by the families of those babies who require
                      intensive care and support.
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                                              BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
                                          Formal Business Notices of Motions
        Private Members' Business item No. 230 outside the order of Precedence objected to as being
taken as formal business.
                                        VARROVILLE TRUCK REST AREA

                                             Production of Documents: Order

       Motion by Ms Cate Faehrmann agreed to:
       That, under Standing Order 52, there be laid upon the table of the House within 21 days of the date of the passing of this
       resolution the following documents relating to the Roads and Traffic Authority’s proposed F5 Freeway truck rest area at
       Varroville, in the possession, custody or control of the Minister for Transport, the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), Transport
       NSW, the Minister for Roads or the Minister for Planning:

       (a)     any document arising from the RTA investigation undertaken in 2009 and referred to on page 2 (section 2.2) of the RTA
               paper "Truck Rest Area Strategy F5 Northbound",

       (b)     any correspondence with trucking or transport companies or recognised trucking or transport industry bodies in relation
               to closure of the informal truck stop at the crossroads when the M7 opened and/or its replacement with another truck rest
               area,

       (c)     any correspondence between the RTA and the Cornish Group or their representatives,

       (d)     any documents relating to RTA consultation with truck drivers or truck driver representative bodies,

       (e)     any documents concerning the selection of the Varroville site for a truck rest area,

       (f)     any documents relating to the purchase of adjoining Department of Planning land Lot 4 DP 239557,

       (g)     any correspondence between Campbelltown City Council and the RTA or the Minister for Roads, and

       (h)     any document which records or refers to the production of documents as a result of this order of the House.

                                                           HIV-AIDS
       Motion by the Hon. Don Harwin agreed to:
       That this House notes that:

               (a)      Wednesday 1 December 2010 is World AIDS Day,

               (b)      World AIDS Day is observed across Australia to raise awareness in the community about the issues
                        surrounding HIV or AIDS,

               (c)      the annual number of new HIV diagnoses in Australia has been stable at around 1,000 cases in the past four
                        years,

               (d)      in 2009, a total of 1,049 new infections were diagnosed in Australia,

               (e)      the theme for World AIDS Day 2010 is "Take Action. No Discrimination",

               (f)      in 1994, New South Wales became the first jurisdiction in Australia to take action to prohibit the vilification of
                        people with HIV or AIDS when the Anti-Discrimination Act 1979 was amended,

               (g)      HIV/AIDS can affect anyone and people that are living with HIV or AIDS often feel isolated because of their
                        fear of discrimination,

               (h)      acceptance and the availability of ongoing support can make a big difference in helping people deal with the
                        physical and emotional challenges HIV or AIDS brings, and

                        (i)      World AIDS Day is a significant opportunity to show support for people living with HIV or AIDS.

                                     SUTHERLAND SHIRE RELAY FOR LIFE
       Motion by the Hon. Marie Ficarra agreed to:
       1.      That this House notes that:

               (a)      in 2010, the Sutherland Shire Relay for Life celebrated its tenth anniversary,

               (b)      the Sutherland Shire Relay for Life is now one of the two largest relay events in Australia which raises money
                        for the Cancer Council of New South Wales,
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              (c)     this year the event raised over $572,000 for the Cancer Council of New South Wales, and

              (d)     over $2 million has been raised thanks to the generosity of residents of the Sutherland, Kogarah and St George
                      areas in the last 10 years.

        2.    That this House notes the generosity of sponsors of the event:

              (a)     Gold Sponsors: NAB, Tradies and MLC Best Doctors,

              (b)     Silver Sponsors: Pfizer, Jarvis Constructions, BC Sands – Building & Landscape Supplies, President Private
                      Hospital and Commonwealth Bank, and

              (c)     sponsors present and past: Sutherland Shire Council, St George & Sutherland Leader, The Professional Choice
                      Back to Sleep, Seawater Gallery, Tripoint Rigging Services, Northies Cronulla Hotel, Mortgage Choice,
                      Anylyticalthinking Research & Marketing, ATV5 Video Productions, Luke Barbuto of Payne Pacific Real
                      Estate, TravelManagers, Coastes, CES The Catering Equipment Specialists, Don Wood Photography, Camden
                      Hire, CLP, Betta Wardrobes and Shower Screens, Freeline, Cronulla Sharks, The Timing Guys Sports Events
                      Timing, Party Time Hire, Gasmanbikes, 2SSR 99.7 FM: Sound of the Sutherland Shire, The Scooter Store,
                      Officeworks, Dancetime Hire Service, Video Ezy, Gymea Chiropractic, Peak Health, Podiatry Centre, Century
                      21, Action Sound, JDs, Freemasons NSW & ACT, Tamarind Day Spa, Ace Cutters, WorkStar, Rotary
                      International, Kareena Private Hospital, St George Private Hospital, Hardy Displays, Muffin Break, Jamaica
                      Blue, Dreamy Donuts, The Shire Conveyancer, Sold Out National Event Management and Able Hire.

        3.    That this House congratulates:

              (a)     Rod Coy, Chairman of the Sutherland Shire Relay for Life organising committee, for his extraordinary work in
                      organising the event with other volunteers and his dedication to raising money for the Cancer Council of New
                      South Wales,

              (b)     residents of the Sutherland Shire, St George and Kogarah that have donated funds to the event, and

              (c)     the sponsors for their generosity in ensuring the continuation of this event.

                               SYDNEY KOREAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

        Motion by the Hon. Marie Ficarra agreed to:

        1.    That this House notes that:

              (a)     the Sydney Korean Business Association (SKBA) was established on 12 February 2007 by Korean Australians
                      in Sydney seeking to further business cooperation and prosperity,

              (b)      under the leadership of Mr Luke Song, the SKBA has helped businesses in the community thrive and prosper
                      and has contributed to numerous charitable activities, social and environmental campaigns,

              (c)     in August 2009, SKBA planted new trees in Lane Cove Park and in September 2010 undertook a Clean-up The
                      World campaign event in Meadow Bank Park with Mr Ian Kiernan AO, the Chairperson of the Clean-up The
                      World campaign,

              (d)     the SKBA submitted a proposal to the City of Sydney Council to clean and beautify the city and establish
                      smoking zones to reduce the presence of cigarette butts on Sydney city streets along with decorating Monorail
                      pylons with cultural murals, turning urban eyesores into scenic tourist attractions,

              (e)     the SKBA has helped to organise the Sydney Lunar New Year Twilight festival to promote cultural diversity
                      along with the Australian Chinese community, and

              (f)     since 1 July 2009, the SKBA has undertaken the Clean-up Sydney Campaign at midday on the first Wednesday
                      of every month, with prominent community leaders, businessmen and friends of the SKBA helping pick up
                      litter on the streets of the Sydney CBD.

        2.    That this House congratulates:

              (a)     Mr Luke Song for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the City of Sydney, along with his SKBA
                      committee and volunteer members and, in particular, Mr Byeong Il Kim, President of the Korean Society of
                      Sydney and Mr Ung Nam Kim, Consul General of the Republic of Korea for their support of all SKBA
                      initiatives,

              (b)     the SKBA and its members for their work and dedication, and

              (c)     the 150 Korean volunteers that participated in this year's Sydney Lunar festival.
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                                               BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

                                           Formal Business Notices of Motions

        Private Members' Business item No. 249 outside the order of precedence objected to as being
taken as formal business.

                                              VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

                                                   WHITE RIBBON DAY

        Motion by the Hon. Marie Ficarra, on behalf of the Hon. Charlie Lynn, agreed to:

        1.      That this House notes that:

                (a)      on 25 November 2010 the official launch of White Ribbon Day in New South Wales, the prevention of violence
                         against women, was held outside the Parliament with over 200 members of Parliament, the NSW Police, unions
                         and community and sporting leaders swearing an oath to:

                                  Never to commit violence against women,
                                  Never to excuse violence against women, and
                                  Never to remain silent about violence against women.

                (b)      a breakfast was held in the Parliament's dining room with over 170 members of Parliament, community and
                         sporting leaders in attendance to hear guest speaker, Mr Luke Lewis, Australian Rugby League representative,
                         speak about the need to be vigilante in preventing violence against women, detecting and reporting violence
                         against women and supporting victims of violence against women, and

                (c)      on Friday 26 November 2010 one of the international founders of White Ribbon Day, Mr Michael Kaufman,
                         addressed members of Parliament, community and sporting leaders stating that the White Ribbon campaign in
                         Australia is one of the most successful in the world.

        2.      That this House thanks and congratulates:

                (a)      the organiser of the Parliament's White Ribbon ceremony and breakfast, Mr Vincent De Luca OAM, for his
                         continual outstanding work and dedication as a White Ribbon Ambassador for the prevention of violence
                         against women,

                (b)      special guests Mr Andrew O'Keefe, Chairman of the White Ribbon Foundation, Mr Charles Curran, Board
                         Director of the White Ribbon Foundation, Mr Luke Lewis, Australian Rugby League representative and Vice
                         Captain of the Penrith Panthers NRL Team, Mr Petero Civoniceva, Australian Rugby League representative
                         and captain of the Penrith NRL Team, Mr Paul Langmack, Rugby League legend and members of the Cronulla
                         Sharks National Rugby League team for their work and contribution to preventing violence against women,

                (c)      Rosemary Calder, Chief Executive Officer of the White Ribbon Foundation, White Ribbon staff Amy Malpass,
                         Mark Vrabac, Sara Davies, Nicole Hercus and White Ribbon ambassadors for their work in trying to bring an
                         end to violence against women in Australia, and

                (d)      Parliamentary dining room's Mr Philip Freeman and Nicole Temple and staff, chef Scott Clark and staff and
                         Parliament's Operations Manager, Mr Brett Wright and staff, for all their hard work in ensuring a successful
                         White Ribbon Day.

                                         THIRLMERE LAKES AND MINING

                                              Production of Documents: Order

         Ms CATE FAEHRMANN [11.15 a.m.]: I seek leave to amend Private Members' Business item No.
252 outside the Order of Precedence for today of which I have given notice by omitting "14 days" and inserting
instead "28 days".

        Leave granted.

        Motion by Ms Cate Faehrmann agreed to:
        That, under Standing Order 52, there be laid upon the table of the House within 28 days of the date of the passing of this
        resolution the following documents, created since 1 January 1998, in the possession, custody or control of the Minister for Water,
        the NSW Office of Water, the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, the Department of Environment, Climate
        Change and Water, the Minister for Planning or the Department of Planning:
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        (a)    all documents relating to operations at the Tahmoor Colliery relating to the potential or actual impact of mining
               activities on aquifers or the Thirlmere Lakes,

        (b)    all documents relating to water loss at the Thirlmere Lakes, and

        (c)    any document which records or refers to the production of documents as a result of this order of the House.

                                                  BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

                                           Formal Business Notices of Motions

        Private Members' Business item Nos 253 and 261 outside the order of precedence objected to as
being taken as formal business.

                      TERTIARY EDUCATION EMPLOYMENT NEGOTIATIONS

        Motion by Dr John Kaye agreed to:

        1.     That this House notes that:

               (a)     for the past two years the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has been attempting to negotiate
                       collective agreements for staff at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University that guarantee:

                       (i)        competitive pay rises,

                       (ii)       job security,

                       (iii)      reductions in contract and casual employment,

                       (iv)       the restoration of employment standards stripped away by the Howard Federal Government's Higher
                                  Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRRs) and WorkChoices,

               (b)     the managements of both universities have frustrated all reasonable attempts by the NTEU and staff to reach a
                       negotiated outcome,

               (c)     NTEU members at 30 universities have already achieved collective agreements which deliver these guaranteed
                       employment standards, and five other universities are close to settlement,

               (d)     approximately 150 NTEU members at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University, driven by
                       the lack of progress and the university administration's intransigence particularly on job security and reducing
                       contract and casual employment, have imposed bans on the transmission of examination results, and

               (e)     while the members imposing bans have offered to perform their full range of duties except for the transmission
                       of results and attendance at certain meetings, management has rejected this offer and will not pay any salary to
                       these members for the duration of the bans, which may well involve the loss of thousands of dollars for each
                       member, many of whom are on relatively low salaries or are employed casually.

        2.     That this House:

               (a)     condemns the Vice-Chancellors of the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University for failing to
                       negotiate a successful outcome while 30 other universities' administrations have done so, mostly without the
                       need for sustained and bitter industrial action by staff, and

               (b)     calls on the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University to:

                       (i)        immediately re-open negotiations with staff and the NTEU in good faith to achieve an outcome that
                                  reflects the need for competitive pay rises, job security, a reduction in contract and casual employment
                                  and a restoration of employment standards,

                       (ii)       pay those members imposing bans for the work they have performed and are willing to perform while
                                  the partial bans are in place.

                               TABLED PAPERS NOT ORDERED TO BE PRINTED

        The Hon. John Robertson tabled, pursuant to Standing Order No. 59, a list of all papers tabled in the
previous month and not ordered to be printed.
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                                                   TABLING OF PAPERS

         The Hon. John Robertson tabled the following papers:
         Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies) Act 1984—reports for the year ended 30 June 2010:

                 Australian Technology Park Precinct Management Limited
                 Barangaroo Delivery Authority
                 Redfern-Waterloo Authority

                                            AUDITOR-GENERAL'S REPORT

         The Clerk announced the receipt, pursuant to the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983, of the Financial
Audits report of the Auditor-General, Volume Eight 2010, entitled "Focusing on Law and Order and Emergency
Services", dated November 2010, received and authorised to be printed this day.

                                                           PETITIONS

                                             Electricity Industry Privatisation

         Petition opposing electricity industry privatisation, received from Dr John Kaye.

                                                  Coal-Fired Power Stations

         Petition requesting that the House call on the Government to prohibit the building of new coal-fired
power stations, develop a responsible phase-out plan for existing stations, and support job creation in renewable
energy industries, received from Dr John Kaye.

                                       Religious Education and School Ethics Classes

         Petition opposing the newly proposed secular humanist ethics course in public schools and calling on
the Government to support the cancellation of the ethics course and express its support for scripture classes,
received from Reverend the Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes.

                                                 Rights of the Terminally Ill

         Petition requesting that the House respect the creation of laws that protect the rights of individuals to
make choices about their own end-of-life arrangement, reject arguments of anti-euthanasia campaigners that
seek to impose their own moral judgements and support the Greens Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill 2010,
received from Ms Cate Faehrmann.

                                                       Dying With Dignity

         Petition requesting that the House enact legislation in a timely manner to create and protect the right to
die with dignity, including appropriate safeguards, received from Ms Cate Faehrmann.

                                                  Coal Seam Gas Operations

         Petition requesting that the House put communities and the environment ahead of the profits of gas
companies, support a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration and extraction activities, and support an
independent investigation into the environmental, social and economic consequences of coal seam gas activities,
received from Ms Cate Faehrmann.

                                               MENTAL HEALTH MONTH

         Motion by the Hon. Kayee Griffin agreed to:
         That this House notes that:

         (a)     October is Mental Health Month and this year's theme is "Good friends help us bounce back", and

         (b)     as part of October's Mental Health Month new survey results have been released to reveal that people with some
                 experience of a mental illness are often socially isolated with few close friendships and are using social media to meet
                 new people, and

         (c)     these results stress the importance of reaching out to friends who you suspect may be having difficulties and that face-to-
                 face contact with friends is essential.
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                                                  WORLD DIABETES DAY

        Motion by the Hon. Kayee Griffin agreed to:
        1.      That this House notes that:

                (a)        Sunday 14 November 2010 is World Diabetes Day and the theme of this year's event is "Diabetes Care for
                           Everyone",
                (b)        diabetes prevalence increases with age and socioeconomic disadvantage and is more prevalent among
                           Aboriginal peoples and people born in the Mediterranean region, and
                (c)        the key messages of the World Diabetes Day campaign, developed for different target groups are:
                           (i)     know the signs and symptoms of diabetes,
                           (ii)    early diagnosis saves lives,
                           (iii)   diabetes prevention and treatment is simple and cost-effective,
                           (iv)    your child could be affected, so know the warning signs and see your doctor to measure the risk,
                           (v)     enjoy an active life and prevent complications.
        2.      That this House congratulates the World Diabetes Day campaign organisers and dedicated health professionals in New
                South Wales who are working to raise community awareness and reduce the impact of diabetes, and improving the
                quality of life for people suffering chronic diabetes related health conditions.

                        INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

        Motion by the Hon. Kayee Griffin agreed to:
        That this House:

        (a)     notes that Friday 3 December 2010 marks the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which
                celebrates the achievements and contributions of people with a disability,

        (b)     encourages the broader public to support the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by focusing on disability
                issues and taking part in events in their community,

        (c)     calls on all members to show solidarity with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by regularly promoting
                the achievements of people with a disability who live in their constituencies, and

        (d)     congratulates everyone involved in the "Don't DIS My ABILITY" campaign for their work in putting on more than 100
                events throughout November and December 2010 to celebrate the diversity and ability of people with a disability.

                                                BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

                                                       Routine of Business
[During the giving of notices of motions]

        The PRESIDENT: Order! Members giving notices of motions must not respond to interjections.

 CONTRACT CLEANING INDUSTRY (PORTABLE LONG SERVICE LEAVE SCHEME) BILL 2010

                                    LONG SERVICE CORPORATION BILL 2010

        Bills received from the Legislative Assembly, and read a first time and ordered to be printed on
motion by the Hon. Tony Kelly, on behalf of the Hon. John Robertson.

        Motion by the Hon. Tony Kelly agreed to:
        That standing orders be suspended to allow the passing of the bills through all their remaining stages during the present or any
        one sitting of the House.

                                                         Second Reading

         The Hon. TONY KELLY (Minister for Planning, Minister for Infrastructure, and Minister for Lands)
[11.33 a.m.]: I move:
        That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.
1 December 2010                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                        28627


       Leave granted.
       I am pleased to present the Contract Cleaning (Portable Long Service Leave) Bill to the House today.

       This bill seeks to eliminate the inequity experienced by thousands of contract cleaners who are unable access to long service
       leave entitlements through no fault of their own.

       There are approximately 44,000 cleaners working in New South Wales.

       Many of these workers, (around 30,000) are engaged in connection with commercial cleaning contracts, working for consecutive,
       unrelated employers and are unable to accrue the requisite 10 years continuous service with a single employer to be eligible for
       long service leave benefits under the Long Service Leave Act 1955.

       It is not unusual for a worker to clock up a few years service with an employer only to have their accrued long service leave reset
       to zero following the expiration of a contract, even if they are re-hired by the new contract holder.

       They effectively forfeit the time they have already served despite working in the same building or shopping centre, doing the
       same work for ten years and often longer.

       With the high frequency of the changeover of cleaning contracts, the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

       The most effective method of addressing this anomaly is to introduce new legislation to establish a statutory portability scheme
       which recognises a worker's service to the cleaning industry rather than a single employer.

       On 19 August this year I announced that the NSW Government was committed to examining the feasibility of a portable long
       service leave scheme. This was met with overwhelming support from cleaning workers including Barbara Mannix from Menai
       Public School.

       This Bill will give cleaners a fair deal for all the hours they have dedicated to their job.

       Since then, NSW Industrial Relations has undertaken a comprehensive consultation process to ascertain the level of industry
       support for the scheme; assess the scheme's financial viability; and explore optimum governance and administrative
       arrangements.

       Peak industry stakeholders who participated in regular consultation meetings included:

                •         the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU);

                •         the Building Services and Contractors' Association of Australia (BSCA NSW Division); and

                •         the Australian Cleaning Contractors Association (ACCA).

       I am told that it was immediately evident that each of the stakeholders had considered a scheme of this kind in some detail, with
       many elements of the proposal meeting with unanimous support and/or a high degree of consensus.

       It was also clear that an important factor in their support for the scheme is the strong belief that a comprehensive workplace
       education and compliance regime will act as a practical deterrent for non-compliant operators and help maintain a level playing
       field for employers competitively tendering for cleaning services contracts.

       A leave entitlement rather than a payment in lieu of leave like that which exists in the building industry properly addresses the
       industry-based barriers that workers face in accessing extended leave.

       The model draws on the content of two similar schemes which have been operative in Queensland and the ACT for a number of
       years with some minor modifications to suit New South Wales circumstances and other practical considerations.

       Both jurisdictions have provided valuable advice and assistance in the preparation of this proposal.

       The scheme is designed to cover contract commercial cleaners and will be funded by a levy on registered industry employers.
       The levy will be calculated as a prescribed percentage of the ordinary wages of industry workers. At commencement this is
       proposed to be 1.7 per cent.

       The scheme will provide a paid long service leave entitlement calculated in line with the NSW Long Service Leave Act 1955 and
       will cover all employees and self-employed contractors performing contracted cleaning work.

       The scheme will be administered by the Long Service Leave Corporation, also responsible for the existing building and
       construction portable long service scheme with the advice and guidance of a tripartite Industry Committee.

       Scheme levies and income will be held in a separate fund, invested with T-Corp. The financial performance of the scheme and
       the rate of the levy will be subject to periodical compulsory actuarial reviews.

       The scheme will also have reciprocal arrangements with interstate cleaning portability schemes.

       It is intended that the scheme will commence on 1 July 2011.

       I now turn to the detail of the bill.
28628                                                 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                              1 December 2010


        The Bill contains a clear definition of cleaning work sourced from the Federal Cleaning Services Modern Award 2010, that is,
        work carried out that has as its main component, the bringing of premises into a clean condition including incidental and minor
        property maintenance work.

        This definition is well understood and accepted by the cleaning industry. Adopting synonymous text minimises confusion and
        uncertainty as to who is in and who is out.

        I must be clear that the portability scheme will not apply to cleaners employed directly by schools, hospitals, factories and the
        like.

        The bill provides the Minister for Industrial Relations with a delegated authority to declare additional scheme coverage as
        required. This ensures that the scheme remains responsive and in step with changes within the cleaning industry.

        The scheme will be funded by a levy on industry employers calculated by a prescribed percentage of the ordinary wages of their
        employees.

        The levy of 1.7 per cent was recommended by an independent actuarial consultant as sufficient to meet future liabilities and day-
        to-day operating costs.

        As I have mentioned, the bill provides that the scheme will undergo rigorous financial analysis at least every two years to ensure
        that the scheme's performance is sound, continues to be able to meet its liabilities and that the levy is maintained at an appropriate
        level.

        Seed funding of approximately $4 million will be provided by way of a Crown Advance from the Treasurer on commercial terms
        repaid over a period of five (5) years at the prevailing T-Corp long-term loan rate which is currently 5.52 per cent.

        The bulk of the establishment costs consists of necessary IT system programming and upgrades as well as additional staff and
        their initial training.

        It is anticipated that the scheme will be self-funding and will not require any further capital injections from the Crown.

        It should be noted that the bill does not create a new entitlement. It simply extends an existing industrial standard to a group of
        workers who are currently denied access to such entitlement due to industry-based circumstances or other factors beyond their
        control.

        The Bill provides that contract cleaning industry workers will be entitled to 8.67 weeks of long service leave after 3,650 days
        service in the industry (the equivalent of 10 years service) and further entitlements will be available after second and subsequent
        blocks of 1,825 days (the equivalent of 5 years service which is entirely consistent with the benefits available to workers under
        the general Long Service Leave Act 1955.

        A worker who has an entitlement to long service leave under the scheme will receive a payment from scheme funds based on
        their ordinary wage which includes shift and weekend penalties but not overtime. Averaging provisions will apply in the event
        that a worker's weekly wage has fluctuated over time.

        To protect the integrity of the scheme and minimise the potential for financial exploitation through artificially inflated wage rates,
        the bill provides the Corporation with the authority to review the wages reported by an employer and vary it as appropriate.

        As with the requirements of the general Long Service Leave Act, an employer will be required to grant a period of leave within
        six (6) months of a worker becoming entitled to it.

        This can be extended by agreement and in the event an agreement cannot be reached, an employer or worker may apply to the
        Corporation to have an extension approved.

        Appeals can be reviewed by the Industry Committee if required. The minimum period of leave that can be granted is two
        consecutive (2) weeks.

        A pro rata entitlement will be available in defined circumstances, for example, death, disability or permanent exit from the
        industry.

        Significantly, the bill provides for a "Foundation Membership Bonus" of 365 days service credits to industry workers who are
        registered in the scheme within six (6) months of its commencement.

        There will be some capacity for the Corporation to recognise workers as Foundation Members outside the prescribed period if
        exceptional circumstance criteria are met.

        This one-off bonus is designed to recompense workers for service to the industry prior to the introduction of the scheme. It will
        be credited immediately after registration and will count towards a worker's eligibility for a future long service leave benefit
        under the scheme.

        While the scheme will not recognise prior industry service for the purposes of accessing a long service leave entitlement under
        the scheme, the bill ensures that contract cleaning industry workers who have been fortunate enough to have continuous service
        with a single industry employer prior to the commencement of the scheme are not disadvantaged by its introduction.

        Provisions are made that clarify the nexus between the operation of the scheme and existing benefits under the general Long
        Service Leave Act. For example:
1 December 2010                                       LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                            28629


       A contract cleaner who has nine (9) years service with a single employer and continues to be employed by them for 12 months
       following the commencement of the scheme will apply for long service leave in the usual manner. They do not need to "restart
       the clock" so to speak.

       In this scenario a split liability will apply. The employer remains directly responsible for the initial nine (9) years service and the
       scheme is liable for the payment in relation to the service accrued after 1 July 2011.

       In practical terms the employer would pay the worker the full amount in the first instance and apply to the Corporation for
       reimbursement for levies paid on a pro rata basis.

       Importantly, the Bill places a compulsory obligation on employers to register themselves and their employees in the scheme,
       provide service records and pay the requisite levy. Penalty provisions apply for breaches of these obligations. The Corporation
       also has the ability to register eligible employers and workers of their own volition.

       All administrative, education and compliance services will be integrated within a reconstituted Long Service Payments
       Corporation (LSPC) to be known as the Long Service Corporation.

       Consistent with current arrangements, the Chief Executive Officer of the New South Wales Compensation Authorities Staffing
       Division would be appointed as Chief Executive Officer.

       The LSPC currently has responsibility for administering the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Scheme.
       Both industry schemes will operate side by side.

       Day-to-day and ongoing administrative costs will be calculated and charged on a proportionate basis.

       This model delivers considerable efficiencies and ensures that the cost of the scheme and therefore the levy is kept to a minimum.

       The Bill therefore provides the Corporation with sufficient powers and authority to manage the day-to-day operational aspects of
       the scheme in a fair, competent and transparent manner.

       For the sake of consistency and convenience these provisions are largely derived from the powers and authorities the Corporation
       already has with respect to administering the building and construction portability scheme.

       Importantly, the Corporation will be guided by a tripartite industry advisory committee comprising employer, worker and
       government representatives.

       Industry Committee will comprise nine members, including:

                •        1 Chairperson;

                •        2 representatives from Unions NSW;

                •        2 representatives from the Liquor, Hospitality, Miscellaneous Workers Union (NSW Branch);

                •        2 representatives from the Building Services Contractors Association; and

                •        2 representatives from the Australian Cleaning Contractors Association.

       The Bill provides the Industry Committee with an identical role and function to the building and construction industry committee,
       including appellate powers in the event that a worker or employer disputes a decision made by the Corporation.

       The Bill provides that the scheme will commence on 1 July 2011.

       This allows sufficient time for the Corporation to implement the necessary administrative arrangements to get the scheme up and
       running including information technology systems and additional staffing.

       It will also ensure that a comprehensive education and communication strategy can be undertaken to ensure that employers and
       workers are aware of the new scheme and their obligations and entitlements.

       I am pleased to say that the peak stakeholders have indicated that they are willing to play a hands on role by assisting the
       Government spread the word to industry through a variety of activities including hosting workshops and advertising in industry
       publications.

       While there will be compliance costs for employers, and potentially additional costs for procurers of cleaning services (including
       the NSW Government), the scheme will deliver considerable benefits to workers and employers.

       In the course of stakeholder consultation advice has been received that industry employers currently factor into the tendered
       contract price a figure of between 1.67 and 2 per cent of a workers weekly wages to cover the contingent future liability of paying
       out an accrued long service entitlement under the general Long Service Leave Act 1955.

       This suggests that there is some capacity for employers providing contracted cleaning services to absorb any increased costs
       arising from the introduction of the scheme and the statutory scheme can be seen as formalising arrangements for dealing with
       long service leave and its accrual that a responsible employer should be doing to effectively manage their existing liabilities.
28630                                                  LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                            1 December 2010


         The passage of the bill will mean that for the first time, many cleaning workers (including some of our most vulnerable and
         marginalised workers including migrants, women and young people) will be able to seek extended respite from the demands of
         an industry where work schedules are often intense.

         For employers, a comprehensive workplace education and compliance regime will maintain a level playing field for businesses
         competing for commercial cleaning work.

         The Premier recently visited LHMU members in Granville to discuss the proposal noting that the new legislation demonstrates,
         yet again, our support for the working entitlements of workers throughout New South Wales. She further emphasised that access
         to long service leave would boost retention rates and increase service standards in the industry.

         It should be noted that the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
         confirmed in writing earlier this year that States and Territories retain the authority to administer existing and new portable long
         service leave schemes.

         It was made clear that such schemes will remain separate to the Fair Work National Employment Standard (NES) for long service
         leave.

         I commend the bills to the House.

         The Hon. GREG PEARCE [11.33 a.m.]: The Contract Cleaning Industry (Portable Long Service
Leave Scheme) Bill 2010 and the Long Service Corporation Bill 2010 create a scheme for payment of long
service leave to workers in the contract cleaning industry. We are told that approximately 44,000 cleaners work
for contractors in New South Wales. As in the building industry and some other industries, it is common for the
workers to be engaged by a number of different unrelated employers over time, which makes it impossible to
accrue long service leave of 10 years. The Government announced its intention to examine the feasibility of a
portable long service leave scheme for cleaning workers in August and claims to have consulted widely since
and to have received support from stakeholders for the scheme. The Australian Contract Cleaners Association
has confirmed to me that this is the case, but concerns have been raised from others that that organisation, or any
other organisation, is unlikely to represent the whole of the industry.

         The Contract Cleaning Industry (Portable Long Service Leave Scheme) Bill sets up the scheme.
Employers are required to register, with penalties for failing to do so, and employees may register with the
scheme. The scheme will be funded by a levy on commercial contract cleaners, which can be set by the Minister
and is proposed to be 1.7 per cent. Unlike the Building Industry Scheme, the funds will be invested with T-Corp
and, accordingly, the State may have a direct liability for the fund. The Government will provide initial seed
funding of $4 million. Employees will be entitled to just on nine weeks leave after 10 years service and then
additionally after each additional five years service.

         The scheme will commence on 1 July 2011 to allow sufficient time for establishment. It is very
important for cleaning companies to have the time to get organised to register for the scheme and to set up their
systems and so on in order to comply. As is common in a number of these sorts of schemes, an advisory
committee comprising employer, union and government representatives has also been established. I understand
that the Greens intended to move an amendment in relation to that advisory committee but I believe the
Government moved the same amendment in the other place, so the Greens will not be proceeding with their
amendment.

         The equity of providing for long service in the contract cleaning industry is self-evident. According to
the Minister, many contractors in fact make allowances in their tenders and contracts for the collection of
sufficient funds to pay out long service leave. Similar schemes exist in other States and Territories. However, as
with many of these sorts of bills from this Government, the enforcement provisions and the provisions that flow
from them are very heavy-handed. The enforcement provisions for the scheme are harsh. The Long Service
Leave Corporation has very broad powers, for example, to enter premises, to issue search warrants and to
inspect and seize information, and to require assistance to be given and the waiver of the right to normal defence
provisions. The Minister also has wide discretions, for example, in relation to determination of the actual
amount of the levy. Directors of any cleaning corporation that are found guilty of an offence under the Act are
also automatically personally liable. As a result of those provisions the administrative costs of the scheme may
blow out because of the heavy emphasis on enforcement with inspectors and the like.

         I would be interested to hear the Minister's views on proposed division 2, section 42, which purports to
allow the corporation to review the pay rates being paid to any worker provided in an employer's return and to
somehow fix an alternative pay rate. I would like the Minister to outline how that works in relation to the fair
work legislation and model awards. The New South Wales Liberals and Nationals do not oppose this legislation.
1 December 2010                              LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           28631


         The Hon. IAN WEST [11.37 a.m.]: It is with great pleasure and deep satisfaction that I support this
important Labor Government legislation, the Contract Cleaning Industry (Portable Long Service Leave Scheme)
Bill 2010 and the Long Service Corporation Bill 2010. I congratulate and thank the Minister, Paul Lynch, for his
speed in dealing with this matter and I thank all the people in his office who have been involved in putting
together this important and historical piece of legislation, including Luke McCaskie and others. I also
congratulate the Liquor Hospitality Miscellaneous Workers Union, the Contract Cleaners Association and the
employer organisations involved in putting this legislation together.

         This legislation has been in the minds of many in the peak organisations that represent those involved
in the contract cleaning industry, both the employers and the employees. Many people have been working for a
long time to have long service leave portability legislation on the statute book. They have pursued that aim
because this legislation will have an extremely important effect on the vast number of employees in this industry
who are middle-aged women from non-English speaking backgrounds and who perform the most important task
of cleaning and maintaining buildings throughout the State.

         I had the honour of playing a part in formulating a long service leave portability bill when I was first
elected as the assistant secretary of the Miscellaneous Workers Division, Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous
Workers Union in 1981. I was in that position in 1994 when the Fahey-Greiner Government privatised the
government cleaning service. We tried to stop that privatisation process by convincing a lone member of this
House who could have stopped it happening—Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile—that it would be a disaster, but we
were unsuccessful. We then tried to ensure that all the cleaners who moved to the private sector could take their
long service leave entitlement with them.

         A portable long service leave scheme for workers in the cleaning industry was established in 1991 in
the Australian Capital Territory. We attempted then to have that legislation considered for New South Wales. In
2005 a similar scheme for cleaning service workers was established in Queensland and in 2009 legislation was
passed in the Australian Capital Territory to consolidate the regulation of portable long service leave under a
single statutory framework. That also involved the establishment of a single authority to administer portable
long service leave arrangements for the cleaning services, building and community service industries.

         The peak employer organisations in this industry have been extremely mature in assisting the union in
establishing a long service leave portability scheme. It is a labour-intensive industry and the employers
appreciate and understand the job that their employees do and the wealth that they create. I take my hat off to
the employers who realised that they needed to work with the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union and
other unions involved in the industry to ensure that this legislation was brought to fruition. As I said, Minister
Paul Lynch has done a fantastic job in achieving that goal.

         Most of the features of these schemes have been incorporated in this bill, with some minor
modifications to suit New South Wales circumstances and to take account of other practical considerations. Like
the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland schemes, the scheme established by this legislation will provide
for paid long service leave entitlements to be delivered through a scheme funded by a levy calculated on the
ordinary wages of workers. These statutory schemes also give the relevant government authority effective
compliance and enforcement powers to help them to secure the long service leave entitlements of workers.

         The concept underpinning all these schemes is that it is service in the industry which counts and which
should form the basis of a leave entitlement rather than continuous service with one employer. This concept
builds on the way that long service leave benefits have been delivered for more than half a century. Historically,
long service leave in Australian jurisdictions has been an entitlement provided in legislation to afford workers a
respite from work following a substantial period of service with a single employer. This legislation is long
overdue. I am extremely pleased to see it before this House and everyone involved in its development should be
congratulated for a fantastic effort.

        Debate adjourned on motion by the Hon. Penny Sharpe and set down as an order of the day for a
later hour.
28632                                                    LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                      1 December 2010


                 ROAD TRANSPORT (DRIVER LICENSING) AMENDMENT BILL 2010

                                                            In Committee

         Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

         The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (Parliamentary Secretary) [11.49 a.m.]: I move Government amendment
No. 1:
         No. 1   Page 3, schedule 1. Insert after line 2:

                 [1]      Section 14 Demerit points register

                          Omit "convicted, or found guilty, of an offence" from section 14 (2) (a). Insert instead "convicted of an
                          offence".

                 [2]      Section 14 (3A)

                          Insert after section 14 (3):

                          (3A)     To avoid doubt, the Authority is not to record demerit points against a person under this Division in
                                   respect of an offence if the court makes an order under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing
                                   Procedure) Act 1999 in respect of the offence.

I understand from the Opposition spokesperson that the Opposition will not be opposing this amendment, and
I thank it for that. This amendment deals with issues to do with section 10. Under the Crimes (Sentencing
Procedure) Act 1999 section 10 is a sentencing option available to the court that allows it to find a person guilty
of an offence but not proceed to a conviction, and the penalties that rely on a conviction are therefore not
imposed. In the case of road transport law these penalties include fines, jail terms and periods of disqualification
from driving.

          There is a current anomaly in road transport law that stipulates that the Roads and Traffic Authority
must deduct demerit points following a finding of guilt: this is a requirement under section 14 of the Road
Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999. The application of section 10 by a court currently does not stop the
application of demerit points. Applying demerit points in the circumstances is inconsistent with the no
punishment principles intended when a magistrate dismisses a matter under section 10. This is not a gift to
dangerous drivers; a magistrate may still choose not to grant a section 10. Current legislation already provides
safeguards against reckless misuse of section 10 availability. In deciding whether to apply the provisions of
section 10 the court takes into account the person's character, age, health and mental condition; the trivial nature
of the offence; the extenuating circumstances in which the offence was committed; and any other matter that the
court thinks proper to consider. This issue was considered by Cabinet in a package of measures regarding this
major change to demerit points and was referred to the working party to allow for considered and inclusive
consultation. However, given the Opposition support for this measure, the Government seeks to have it included
in this legislation. I commend the amendment to the Committee.

          The Hon. TREVOR KHAN [11.50 a.m.]: While I hear what the Parliamentary Secretary has to say,
this borders on the most gross hypocrisy by the Government that one can imagine. Since the Act came into
effect in 1999 the issue of section 10 and demerit points has been a constant source of representation by various
members of the Opposition, including the Leader of The Nationals, Andrew Stoner. It has been the subject of a
private member's bill. Back in 2004 the Law Society of New South Wales made a series of representations about
the inequities caused by the application of demerit points when the provisions of section 10 are applied. This
amendment, introduced by the Government at the death of this Parliament, arises only because, once again, the
Liberals and Nationals were prepared to force the issue by seeking to introduce their own amendment. Only
after that did the Government come forth with its amendment.
         When Premier Kristina Keneally made her announcement on 22 November with regard to the package
of measures she introduced in panic because of the mobile speed cameras, she failed to make any reference to
this amendment. The simple reason was that it was not on the agenda of this Government. Time and again the
Local Court has applied section 10 for legitimate reasons—people caught through mobile speed cameras—and
waived the penalty. Time and again those people have lost demerit points notwithstanding, in many cases, direct
representations from magistrates to the Roads and Traffic Authority. It has been a shameful exercise in delay
and procrastination by this Government in amending the legislation. It is a blessed relief that finally the
Government has listened to the community. Finally it has listened to the Liberals and Nationals. Finally it has
listened to the Law Society of New South Wales, which has campaigned so long on this matter. The Liberals
and Nationals will not oppose this amendment.
1 December 2010                                     LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                     28633


        Ms CATE FAEHRMANN [11.53 a.m.]: The Greens are slightly concerned about what seems to be a
message being sent by both the Opposition and the Government that some misdemeanours—disobeying traffic
signs and speeding over the limit—are okay in some circumstances. The Greens believe the Government needs
to be sending a strong message when it comes to road safety, and the more the message is sent by the
Opposition and the Government that disobeying traffic signals and speed limits is a good thing the more
dangerous our roads will become. We also have concerns that this amendment may lead to more convictions so
the magistrate can send a message to those people who may have disobeyed traffic signals or gone too fast in
some zones. However, we will not oppose the amendment.

         The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (Parliamentary Secretary) [11.55 a.m.]: I am glad there is clear support
across the Chamber for this amendment.

        Question—That Government amendment No. 1 be agreed to—put and resolved in the
affirmative.

         Government amendment No. 1 agreed to.

         Schedule 1 as amended agreed to.

         Title agreed to.

         Bill reported from Committee with an amendment.

                                                    Adoption of Report

         Motion by the Hon. Penny Sharpe agreed to:

         That the report be adopted.

         Report adopted.

                                                      Third Reading

         Motion by the Hon. Penny Sharpe agreed to:

         That this bill be now read a third time.

       Bill read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly with a message requesting its
concurrence in the amendment.

 CONTRACT CLEANING INDUSTRY (PORTABLE LONG SERVICE LEAVE SCHEME) BILL 2010

                                       LONG SERVICE CORPORATION BILL 2010

                                                      Second Reading

         Debate resumed from an earlier hour.

         The Hon. SOPHIE COTSIS [11.58 a.m.]: I am pleased to speak in support of the Contract Cleaning
Industry (Portable Long Service Leave Scheme) Bill 2010. This is an important and long-awaited reform which
will help and benefit for the first time thousands of cleaning workers who faithfully and diligently work in the
same school, hospital, club or office building as part of the commercial contract cleaning industry for a number
of years. The bill represents the values of equity and access to opportunity. This is good Labor reform. It is
about equity, about the thousands of hardworking and committed cleaning workers who work long hours and are
dedicated to their jobs, and who will now have the opportunity to access paid long service leave, like the
majority of Australian workers.

         This is a reform to be proud of, and I congratulate the Keneally Government on what this bill will do. It
will establish an industry portability scheme that will ensure commercial contract cleaners will be able to access
a paid long service leave entitlement. This scheme is a major reform for the sector as it recognises service to the
industry rather than to a single employer. The Keneally Government's reform will cover all contract cleaners,
28634                                         LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                               1 December 2010


including those who are self-employed. Due to the nature of the cleaning industry, where short-term contracts
change hands at work sites, many workers are unable to accrue sufficient continuous service with the one
employer to qualify for long service leave entitlements, even when many of the workers perform the same work
at the same location but with a different employer.

         One of the most important means of ensuring the success of the new portable long service leave scheme
for the cleaning services industry is to ensure that any legislation proposed is developed as part of a process
which fully takes account of the views of industry stakeholders. This type of reform requires the meaningful
input of informed industry and employee representative participants who are best placed to advise government
on how regulation can be developed and implemented and which best fits the specific circumstances of the
industry. I am pleased to note that this bill is clearly a product of this approach.

         Pursuant to sessional orders business interrupted at 12 noon for questions.

                                      QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
                                              __________

                                               TILLEGRA DAM

         The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I direct my question without notice to the Minister for
Planning, Minister for Infrastructure, and Minister for Lands. Can the Minister inform the House what will
happen to lands acquired by the Government to construct the now cancelled Tillegra Dam in the event the
original owners decline or are unable to repurchase their former properties? If the lands are to be sold to public
buyers now that the Government has made a decision not to proceed with the dam, will the properties be sold at
the price the Government acquired them for or will they be sold at their current market value? In addition, can
the Minister outline if the Government will be moving to either rezone or subdivide the land before it is sold?

         The Hon. TONY KELLY: I will answer the last part of the question first. There are no plans to
change any of the zoning to what it had traditionally been. A number of people have talked about the loss of
employment in the Dungog area with the land staying as it is. I make the point that had the dam gone ahead,
whilst there would have been a couple of people employed in the construction phase, there would have only
been three people employed once the dam had been completed. My recollection is that there were 38 farms
involved, four of which were dairy farms, one horse riding school and one landscaping business. A quick rule of
thumb: that number of farms including four dairy farms would have employed something in the order of 100
people—four dairy farms, a landscaping business, a horse riding business and the rest were normal properties.
When one takes into account the husbands and wives, one would get close to that figure.

          I think the suggestion that there would be a continuing loss of employment is incorrect. To return to the
first part of the question, Hunter Water has asked one of the divisions of the Land and Property Management
Authority to look now at disposing of that property. The authority will have to go back to the original contracts.
A number of those people had buyback provisions. I understand they were all offered that and some wanted
buyback provisions. Some people did not sell. I may be wrong but I do not think it was compulsory acquisition.
I think some people had not sold and obviously they will still keep their property. Some people had buyback
provisions. I am not aware of those provisions; what they were sold at or whether it was at the current market
price. The Land and Property Management Authority will now go through the process of discussing a disposal
proposal with each of those landholders.

                                              STATE ECONOMY

       The Hon. SOPHIE COTSIS: I address my question to the Treasurer. Would the Treasurer update the
House on the latest economic data?

          The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: I thank the honourable member for her question and interest in this
matter. I have more great news for the New South Wales economy. In breaking news just to hand, the Australian
Bureau of Statistics has just released State final demand data. It shows the New South Wales economy grew by
1.4 per cent in the September quarter. This is the highest of all the States. This means seven consecutive quarters
of economic growth for New South Wales. Again New South Wales is the engine room of the national
economy—a magnificent accomplishment for our $400 billion State economy and great economic news to end
the year. New South Wales is also significantly above the national average of 0.6 per cent for domestic final
demand, more than twice above the national average. Today's State final demand data shows yet again the
1 December 2010                              LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           28635


resilience and strength of the New South Wales economy. However, the picture is not as good everywhere else.
Victoria, Queensland and South Australia all recorded negative economic growth for the September quarter. The
Victorian economy shrunk by 0.1 per cent, Queensland shrunk by 0.5 per cent and so did South Australia.

          Of course, State final demand is the best available measure of a State's economic performance. State
final demand is unquestionably a measure of economic activity and economic growth. Today's data shows the
New South Wales economy has grown 4.9 per cent since September 2009. The New South Wales economy is
growing faster than the national average. In fact, we are the largest contributor to the nation's gross domestic
product [GDP] growth in the September quarter. As I said earlier, we have recorded a stunning seven
consecutive quarters of economic growth for New South Wales. This never happened during the last Coalition
Government between 1988 and 1995. Today's good news comes on top of the recent Australian Bureau of
Statistics national accounts data, which also shows sustained economic growth in New South Wales.

         For the 2009-10 financial year, gross State product [GSP] in New South Wales grew by 1.7 per cent.
On a per capita basis, New South Wales is only one of three States to have seen growth in 2009-10. Queensland
and Victoria both saw a decline in per-capita gross State product. New South Wales was the largest contributor
to the 2.2 per cent growth in domestic final demand. This is a clear indication of the consistent and sustained
recovery of the New South Wales economy. Our economic growth is being driven by strong growth in the
financial services sector. We have seen a rebound in the New South Wales manufacturing sector. Consumer
confidence also is on the rebound, with growth in wholesale and retail trade. This is all good news for the New
South Wales economy. It is good news for the families of New South Wales and I look forward to continuing to
update the House on further good economic news as we see those green shoots of recovery sprouting and
growing stronger for the people of New South Wales.

                           DELTA ELECTRICITY AND HYDRO ALUMINIUM

          The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I direct my question to the Treasurer. Is the Treasurer aware that the
possible closure of the Hydro smelter will mean the loss of jobs of not only the 700 workers but also the entire
Weston industrial site and so hundreds more jobs? Is the Treasurer aware Hydro management has said the
company agreed to terms with Delta Electricity to extend its electricity supply contract but the company refused
to sign the contract at the last minute? Is he aware that a spokesperson for the Treasurer said no final agreement
to the satisfaction of both parties was ever reached? Given these statements are in total conflict, can the
Treasurer tell the House which one is correct: is Hydro Aluminium correct or the Treasurer's spokesperson?

          The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: As the House would know from previous answers, there is a
seven-year contract remaining in place for the supply of energy to Hydro and I refer to my previous answer in
relation to this.

        The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I ask a supplementary question.

        The PRESIDENT: Order! Previous Presidents have ruled—

         The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: You have not heard my supplementary yet, Madam President. I request
that you listen to it.

        The PRESIDENT: Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. Previous
Presidents have ruled that when a Minister's response to a question is along the lines of "I refer to my previous
answer", there is no provision for a supplementary question.

        The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: Point of clarification: There was more to the answer than that. There was a
considerable preamble and I request the ability to ask a supplementary question.

         The PRESIDENT: Order! I will allow the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to ask a supplementary
question.

         The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: Thank you for your understanding, Madam President. The Minister
indicated that there had been consultation, but he also indicated that in his previous answer he had dealt with
this matter. Can the Minister direct me to where that answer is, and what that answer is?

        The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: I refer the honourable member to my previous answers.
28636                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                               1 December 2010


                                         KENDALL BAY MARINA

         Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: My question is directed to the Minister for Planning. In relation to the
part 3A application for a marina development at Kendall Bay, will the Minister advise what stage the
remediation of the proposed site has reached and whether his approval of the development will be contingent on
full remediation of the site?

         The Hon. TONY KELLY: Mr David Shoebridge keeps asking me to pre-empt decisions. As I have
consistently said, any decision on a part 3A development will be undertaken on merit, and it will be undertaken
after thorough investigation by the Department of Planning, which gives me reports. I have no intention of pre-
empting a decision on the Kendall Bay development proposal, or any of the other development proposals. What
sort of an outcome would have happened if I had just gone on a whim and decided to approve or not approve
Tillegra Dam, rather than waiting for the experts' reports? It is exactly the same with Bickham coalmine.
Mr David Shoebridge wants me to pre-empt all these reports and simply make decisions on the run. I have
consistently said that I will wait until I get a merit-based assessment by the Department of Planning, and then
I will make my decision.

                            DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEATH REVIEW TEAM

        The Hon. KAYEE GRIFFIN: My question is addressed to the Attorney General. What is the latest
information on the Government's initiatives to review deaths from domestic violence and make
recommendations to help prevent them in the future?

          The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: I thank the Hon. Kayee Griffin for her question. On 16 July this
year, I announced the commencement of the legislation establishing the Domestic Violence Death Review Team
and its first appointment, the team's manager Anna Butler. The Government has, for the first time in New South
Wales, established a body to systematically review the tragic 42 per cent of homicides caused each year by
domestic violence, according to a Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research report, and make recommendations
to prevent them in the future. Preparations for the initiation of the work of the team are well underway, and the
Coroner, who will chair the team, has set 16 December 2010 as the date of team's first meeting.

         On 19 December 2008, following the tragic death of Melissa Cook after she had taken out an
apprehended violence order against her ex-husband, the Government convened an expert advisory panel to
advise it on establishing a domestic violence homicide review process. The Government supported the panel's
recommendation to set up a Domestic Violence Death Review Team as an important measure in monitoring and
reducing these tragic deaths. Ministers responsible for the various government agencies represented on the team
have nominated their members. Expressions of interest for the four non-government positions on the team were
sought by public advertisement in October 2010, and applications have now been received and reviewed. The
team is to meet no less than four times a year, and meetings will be held at the New South Wales State Coroner's
Court complex at Glebe.

         During the team's "establishment phase", the manager has met with key government stakeholders,
including the Director of Victims Services and senior policy officers from the Crime Prevention Division, to
promote an environment of collaboration and cooperation and thereby to ensure that each department benefits
from the experience and expertise of the other. The manager has also established a strong working relationship
with the Victorian Coroners Prevention Unit, which is working with the Victorian State Coroner on the systemic
review of family violence deaths.

         The Coroners Prevention Unit effectively became operational from May 2009, and while there are
significant differences between the unit and the team, they have and will continue to be an extremely valuable
partner for the New South Wales review process. The manager has conducted a comprehensive review of
equivalent review teams in various jurisdictions, to ensure the development of best practice protocols for the
team within the legislative framework. The manager is currently developing a database of domestic violence
deaths occurring in New South Wales in accordance with the legislative framework and has completed an initial
review of all assault deaths occurring in New South Wales since 2000. The first report of the team is to be
provided to Parliament within four months after 30 June 2011.

        The Government is proud of the progress that has already been made on the Domestic Violence Death
Review Team. It is important to remember that our approach was welcomed by a number of the stakeholders
when it was announced—in contrast to the position which was advocated on the part of the Opposition. I note
1 December 2010                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           28637


that on 18 December 2008 the shadow Attorney General and member for Epping stated, "I think it's too easy to
get an AVO." Erecting barriers to prevent victims of domestic violence accessing the protections of the court is
a disturbing proposal. The member for Epping then put forward an interesting solution for dealing with these
kinds of tragic incidents.

         The Hon. KAYEE GRIFFIN: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister elucidate his answer?

         The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: The member for Epping said, "I think we have to have with the
courts, more mediation, conciliation between the warring parties …" The idea that a vulnerable person in a
violent domestic relationship should be asked to sit down and conciliate with their abuser is a dangerous and
offensive proposal.

                                       GAME AND FERAL ANIMALS

         The Hon. ROBERT BROWN: I direct my question without notice to the Minister for Transport,
representing the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment. Does the department have guidelines for
staff wishing to provide submissions to public inquiries, proposals or petitions, which stress that they should not
use their positions with the department to give greater status to personal submissions? Will the Minister advise
whether a submission from a department employee to a petition against the Game and Feral Animal Amendment
Bill saying, as quoted on the RSPCA website, "as a scientist working in conservation management in NSW
National Parks, I strongly oppose the proposed Shooters Party Bill" breaches those guidelines? Will the Minister
investigate if the above comment attached to signature 1614 on the RSPCA submission—which identifies the
petitioner—breaches the guidelines? If it does, will the Minister inform the House what action will be taken by
the department?

       The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: As the matter concerns the Minister for Climate Change and the
Environment, I undertake to get an answer from the Minister.

                                   PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE

          The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I direct my question to the Treasurer. Now that the Parliamentary Budget
Office has been established to cost election promises, will the Treasurer rule out New South Wales Treasury
staff being used to cost Opposition election promises for political purposes?

          The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: I am pleased that we have seen an about-face on the part of the
Opposition in relation to the Parliamentary Budget Office. The New South Wales Parliamentary Budget Office
will be the first such office in Australia, established as part of a significant parliamentary reform—against the
wishes of the Coalition, which wants to hide all its plans to slash services in New South Wales. The Coalition
resisted the independent review of the Parliamentary Budget Office because it would be a truly independent arm
of the Legislature which will serve the Parliament and the people of New South Wales well. The Parliamentary
Budget Office will ensure that a high-quality, independent costing process is in place, and it will be beyond any
criticism of partiality or bias—a process to be managed by a truly independent office.

         It is important that when we think about the costing of election promises we look at the history of the
Coalition at both a State and Federal level, to see how it has dishonoured the notion of election promise costings
in the past. We have been treated to the very entertaining Joe Hockey, who has managed to do his backflip, his
side flip and his tumble to try to explain why the Federal Government's policies had a massive black hole
in them.

         The Government was well aware of the deliberate attempt by the Coalition to hide the black hole in
their costing policies federally. That is why the Government supported, along with the minor parties, the
establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office, to ensure that at this election, everyone's promises will be
costed independently and impartially, and they will be fully visible to the people of New South Wales. The
Government understands that the Coalition has its top drawer election announcements and its bottom drawer
plans to slash and burn. The Government also knows that the Opposition wants to privatise a number of public
sector assets, starting with assets from Sydney Water—it has already made that public. The Government knows
the Opposition wants to slash and burn.

         The Hon. Duncan Gay: Point of order—

         The Hon. Christine Robertson: How can you take a point of order on that?
28638                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                1 December 2010


        The Hon. Duncan Gay: Quite easily. I will educate the honourable member on how it is done.

        The PRESIDENT: Order!

         The Hon. Duncan Gay: My point of order is relevance. The question asked was a discrete one. The
Opposition did not ask for a repeat of the second reading speech of the Minister. I ask that the Minister be drawn
back to the leave of the question before the House.

        The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister will continue to be generally relevant in his answer.

         The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: When talking about a Parliamentary Budget Office members
should remember who has supported that office. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has supported it. Tony Abbott, the
Leader of the Opposition, has supported a Parliamentary Budget Office. Members opposite have gone silent.
Now they are sitting there stunned. The Government is committed to ensuring that the excuse that the
photocopier is broken—used by the Opposition last time—is not used again.

          The Hon. Greg Pearce: Point of order: The Treasurer has conceded at least six times in his answer so
far that Treasury has not been independent in the past and it has been used for political purposes in relation to
costings. I ask the Treasurer to answer the question.

        The PRESIDENT: Order! That is not a point of order.

         The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: The Parliamentary Budget Office will be an independent resource
used to cost all election promises.

                        REGIONAL TRANSPORT COORDINATION PROGRAM

         The Hon. PENNY SHARPE: I address my question to the Minister for Transport. Will the Minister
inform the House about transport initiatives available to assist young people in New South Wales?

          The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: The Keneally Government remains committed to developing and
improving transport solutions for young people across New South Wales. Our statewide network of regional
transport coordinators consults with local communities to achieve improved transport options and links for those
in need. A number of these programs are targeted specifically at assisting young people. New South Wales
regional transport initiatives improve services for people who have limited or no access to a car and have
difficulty gaining access to public transport. The initiatives that have been funded for young people are diverse.
They include projects that assist young people to attend sporting and social outings, use public transport, access
youth and community support services, and promote intergenerational understanding between young people and
older people.

          Since the beginning of July 2009, 25 such projects have been funded across New South Wales to the
value of more than $304,000. One of the most recent successful initiatives was implemented at Bulli, which
provided $15,000 to the Bulli Community Centre. That money was used to fund the Bulli Breakfast Bus Project.
That project provided transport for disadvantaged young people to attend a local breakfast and youth outreach
program before school three days per week. I am told that many local young men and women, predominantly
living in the housing estates in the northern suburbs of Wollongong, benefitted greatly from that assistance.

         In Tamworth and Albury, Transport NSW is helping to provide transport options to and from Midnight
Basketball. Midnight Basketball is a national social inclusion program aimed at young people aged 12 to18
years who are socio-economically disadvantaged. Basketball workshops are held, usually commencing at
7.30 p.m. and concluding at approximately 11.00 p.m. so that participants get home by midnight, and the young
people who attend these workshops are also provided with a healthy meal. Around 80 young people from
Tamworth and 60 from Albury have participated in Midnight Basketball. The program in Lismore is expected to
be just as popular when it starts next year. These sorts of initiatives help to reconnect young people through
positive activities to build self-esteem and self-worth, and the New South Wales Government is a very proud
supporter of them.

        Further, funding support is provided to help young people with disabilities. Under the Come Try a
Sport Program for young people with a disability, participants attended the local sports centre in Coffs Harbour
1 December 2010                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           28639


to "try a sport". Of those, 75 people with a disability were provided with transport using accessible taxis. This
funding provided young people with opportunities they otherwise would not have had. There are many more
examples. Under the Rebicycle Project on the Central Coast, $5,000 was allocated to Uniting Care Burnside to
assist young people 15 to 18 years who have left school, or are thinking about leaving school, to participate in a
TAFE course. Rebicycle is a 10-week TAFE accredited course that teaches young people to build and
maintain bikes.

         The Hon. Charlie Lynn: Who is looking after the handlebars?

         The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: This is an important program. Travel training initiatives have been
identified across the board as key activities to assist young people to build their confidence and knowledge in
how to use public transport. Travel training components include learning how to board and travel safely, the
ticketing system, what concessions they are entitled to, how to read a timetable or follow a route on a map,
getting to know their way around, and, most importantly, where to go if they need help. The Government
remains committed to improving transport services for young people, and the programs we have put in place are
already making a big difference to the lives of our young people.

                                           DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

         The Hon. ROBERT BORSAK: I direct my question without notice to the Attorney General. Will the
Minister advise the House on how many women in New South Wales were killed by a current or former
intimate partner from 2000 to 2009 inclusive? Will the Minister further advise how many of those women who
were killed by a current or former intimate partner were killed by the use of a firearm, and, of those, how many
women were killed by a current or former intimate partner with a registered firearm?

         The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: I do not have the detail on those matters. Generally speaking—

[Interruption]

         The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Rick Colless to order for failing to set his mobile phone on
silent mode.

        The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: Generally speaking, that information can be derived from a
number of sources, including the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and the Coroner's reports. I will take
the question on notice to the extent that the information is not publically available, and I will provide the
member with a response in due course.

                              FRESHWATER DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL

        The Hon. DON HARWIN: I direct my question to the Minister for Planning, and Minister for Lands.
Will the Minister delay the submission of the development application for the $53 million development at
Freshwater to the Joint Regional Planning Panel until after the master plan is completed, given that thousands in
the community have demonstrated their strong concern that the development will destroy Freshwater Village?

         The Hon. TONY KELLY: I thank the member for his question. I make the point that someone who
mentioned this matter to me earlier this week referred to it as Harbord. I pointed out to that person that it is no
longer called Harbord: it has been renamed Freshwater.

         The Hon. Rick Colless: Don must have got that message.

        The Hon. TONY KELLY: Don certainly knows that it is Freshwater. I am aware of the issue. I will
seek some advice and get back to the member with a response.

                         LAND AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY

         The Hon. TONY CATANZARITI: I address my question to the Minister for Lands. Will the Minister
outline some of the achievements of the Land and Property Management Authority established as a result of the
New South Wales Government's restructure last year?
28640                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                1 December 2010


         The Hon. TONY KELLY: I thank the member for his question, which will be of particular interest to
rural and regional members opposite, as well as to Government members. The establishment last year of the
Land and Property Management Authority represents the outcome of a strategic goal set by me when I took over
the Land portfolio in 2003. The vision was a single agency garnering the collective expertise and resources of
the State's land information and property management. This would deliver a more coordinated approach to
public land management, drive greater efficiencies internally and ultimately provide a greater return to the New
South Wales taxpayer.

         Some years ago, many of the divisions that are now part of the Land and Property Management
Authority, such as the State Property Authority, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Western Lands, the
Office of Strategic Lands and the Soil Conservation Service, were scattered through the public service. They
often acted as silos duplicating their efforts and were not benefitting from their shared skills and knowledge.

         That is no longer the case. The Land and Property Management Authority has pulled together the
former Department of Lands and a broad range of specialist land management agencies. They represent three
core focus areas of business: land and property information, land and property management and conservation,
and land and property development. Overall, the Land and Property Management Authority has a budget of
more than $800 million and an asset portfolio of $8 billion. The Land and Property Information Division is
responsible for land titling, registration, land valuation, survey and mapping services, and the provision of
related products and services.

         Through five key programs, including national e-conveyancing and spatial data information programs,
the Land and Property Information Division continues to improve the quality and integrity of its data and related
services to the public, as well as build collaborative information services with local government agencies. We
are seeing results. According to an independent study by KPMG, in New South Wales a national
e-conveyancing system will result in an average cost saving of $170 for each and every sale.

         Another example is the Crown Lands Division, which is now responsible for the management of
43.7 million hectares of Crown land, half the area of this State. Its responsibilities include 49,500 licences and
permits, 15,300 leases and over 35,000 reserves. The Crown Lands Division manages also significant regional
maritime infrastructure, such as, ports and breakwaters, which is valued at more than $1.5 billion. This
consolidation means that the Crown Lands Division is now a much more active partner with the community,
particularly in rural and regional New South Wales.

         Over the last decade the Land and Property Management Authority, in partnership with local
communities, has injected over $100 million into the maintenance of important local facilities, such as,
showgrounds, old halls, sporting facilities and playgrounds. The Land and Property Management Authority has
also assumed a greater role in driving rural and regional communities that are embarking on important work,
such as, the Landing at Gosford and the rejuvenation of central business districts and waterfront harbour
precincts up and down the coast.

         The State Property Authority has also become the State's pre-eminent property manager, generating
$187 million in economic benefits for New South Wales taxpayers with its management of public assets. The
Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority is responsible for more than $1.1 billion in assets, with significant
commercial and retail leases as well as 140 heritage items in The Rocks and Darling Harbour. The Office of
Strategic Lands, the latest addition to the authority, buys public land for a variety of purposes, from open space
to land for the South West Rail Link.

                      MURRAMARANG NATIONAL PARK LAND REVOCATION

         The Hon. IAN COHEN: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Lands. Does the
Minister or his Director General, Mr Warwick Watkins, know or have they met with Mr Brian Wallace and Mrs
Judith Wallace? Was the Minister aware that Mr Brian Wallace and his company B and J Wallace Holdings Pty
Ltd donated $2,000 to the New South Wales Labor Party between 28 January 2009 and 19 May 2009? If so,
when did he become aware of the donation? Have the donations provided by Mr Brian Wallace and B and J Wallace
Holdings Pty Ltd impacted on the probity of the Land and Property Management Authority's decision to seek
revocation of 6.5 hectares of Murramarang National Park for the Merry Beach Caravan Park and offer up Meroo
Lake as an offset?

        The Hon. Rick Colless: That is a good question.
1 December 2010                             LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                          28641


        The Hon. TONY KELLY: It is a good question, but the devil is in the detail. I did not have a clue
what the Hon. Ian Cohen was talking about until he got to the end of his question. Then I had to trace back
through the matters referred to in his question in order to respond. I am not aware that I have met with Mr
Wallace. I am not aware that I have had any dealings with people associated with Merry Beach Caravan Park.
The Hon. Ian Cohen raised the caravan park as a contentious issue last week. I cannot recollect meeting with
the Wallaces.

        The Hon. IAN COHEN: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister accurately describe his
department's plans for any development on the relevant site?

         The Hon. TONY KELLY: That is not a supplementary question. The Hon. Ian Cohen's question seeks
an opinion from me and reflects on a decision of the House.

                                  GLENMORE PARK 799 BUS SERVICE

         The Hon. MARIE FICARRA: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Transport.
Will the Minister ensure that the 799 bus service through Glenmore Park runs regularly on weekends so that the
disabled, pensioners and young people without cars or drivers licences are not housebound?

        The Hon. Greg Pearce: Show some compassion.

        The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: I have never seen compassion from you.

        The Hon. Greg Pearce: It's Christmas.

        The Hon. Marie Ficarra: Good will to all men.

        The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: I have plenty of good will for my colleagues on this side. Transport
NSW constantly evaluates the bus services that operate throughout the network. It constantly updates timetables
based on customer feedback. As to the specific issues contained in the question, I undertake to provide the Hon.
Marie Ficarra with an answer.

                              PREMIER'S CHRISTMAS GALA CONCERTS

        The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: My question without notice is addressed to the Minister
for Ageing. Will the Minister outline how the Government is celebrating the contributions of older people in
New South Wales this Christmas?

          The Hon. PETER PRIMROSE: Every year tens of thousands of older Australians make an invaluable
contribution to our State through volunteer work and community service and as carers. The Premier's Christmas
Gala Concerts, now in their twenty-ninth year, are one of the ways that the Government recognises and
celebrates the contribution of seniors in New South Wales. The Premier's Christmas Gala Concerts are a
calendar highlight for New South Wales seniors. This year 30,000 seniors are expected to attend the concerts on
7 and 8 December. The group concert, which will be held next Tuesday, caters for people from aged care
facilities, nursing homes, seniors hospitals and seniors groups. Metropolitan groups can book up to 20 tickets,
while regional groups can book up to 40 tickets. Group concert tickets have been allocated to 537 groups.

          For the two concerts for individuals, both to be held next Wednesday, seniors were able to book up to
four free tickets each through Ticketmaster by phone, online or visiting participating ticketing outlets. These
concert tickets were made available on 18 October and proved, as always, to be extremely popular. Ageing,
Disability and Home Care again has paid the State Transit Authority and BusNSW to provide the opportunity to
all metropolitan-based organisations attending the group concert to travel free of charge on buses. Careful
planning and coordination between government agencies ensures minimal disruption around the city. Extra
transport services will be provided for the concerts, including more than 10,000 additional seats on RailCorp
train services and two additional light rail services.

         Attendees arriving at Central Station on the way to the concerts will be entertained by the RailCorp
Band and provided free tea and coffee before and after the concerts. On arrival at the Sydney Entertainment
Centre attendees will be entertained by the 30-piece NSW Police Band in the Sydney Entertainment Centre
forecourt. The Premier's Christmas Gala Concerts provide an excellent opportunity to thank, educate and engage
28642                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                               1 December 2010


with seniors. As well, 20,000 show bags containing free samples and useful information on services relevant to
seniors will be provided. Seventeen agencies and organisations will exhibit over both days of the concerts,
providing information on many government and non-government services. Exhibitors include the New South
Wales Trustee and Guardian, NSW Fire Brigades, Seniors Card, the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants
Association of New South Wales and various charities and non-profit organisations.

         For the second year the Premier's Christmas Gala Concert will be recorded, with DVDs of the concerts
provided to people from aged care facilities and nursing homes after the concerts. This significantly expands the
audience and allows many people who are unable to attend in person, particularly those from regional and rural
communities, to experience the performances. The artistic format for the concerts will be an entertaining mix of
music, dance and comedy. The Christmas Spectacular will be hosted by comedian Denise Scott, and the cast
includes Rhonda Burchmore, Greta Bradman, Josie Lane, Sam Ludeman, Warren Fisher, Jonathon Biggins,
Tony Delroy and the Janice Breen Showgroup, amongst others. This year's theme, the Christmas Spectacular,
follows the premise of the host being hired by a local musical society to make its "Christmas Spectacular". I am
sure that the 30,000 seniors in attendance at the concerts will thoroughly enjoy them, as will everyone who gets
to watch the Christmas Spectacular on DVD.

                    COALMINING PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS

         Ms CATE FAEHRMANN: My question is directed to the Minister for Planning. Has the Department
of Planning engaged, or are there plans to engage, external consultants to undertake the assessment of, and
provide advice on, the suitability or compliance of environmental assessments that have been submitted as part
of development applications for coalmining projects currently before the department?

         The Hon. TONY KELLY: The Department of Planning gets assistance from a number of consultants
on a number of part 3A assessments that it makes. Often when a development application goes to the Planning
and Assessment Commission the commission gets advice from expert consultants. I recall the Planning and
Assessment Commission getting advice from some water and other experts when it looked at Bickham
coalmine. Before the decision was made last week on Tillegra Dam I know that the Department of Planning
employed a number of outside experts to give it advice because it does not have that type of advice available in-
house all the time, and I would expect that the department would continue to do that.

       Ms CATE FAEHRMANN: I ask the Minister for Planning a supplementary question. Why is the
Department of Planning not getting this work done by the Department of Environment, Climate Change
and Water?

         The Hon. TONY KELLY: That is a really good question because every time we have a part 3A
application we are open to submissions from members of the community as well as from government
departments, which have vested interests. On the Tillegra Dam issue we had submissions from both the
Department of Environment and Climate Change and the Department of Water, and they had opposing views.
Had I chosen one of those, I probably would have come up with a different outcome. The Department of
Planning will continue to obtain independent—and that means independent of government departments—merit-
based advice when it wants to properly assess part 3A applications. A sane person would not want it any
other way.

                NEW SOUTH WALES CRIME COMMISSION PROPERTY TRANSFER

          The Hon. DAVID CLARKE: My question is directed to the Minister for Planning, Minister for
Infrastructure, and Minister for Lands. Is the Minister aware that the main assets of the New South Wales Crime
Commission were transferred to the State Property Authority this year without any compensation, and that since
1 July 2009 the New South Wales Crime Commission has been paying rent to the State Property Authority?
Who took the decision to transfer more than $17 million worth of property to the State Property Authority, given
that the total operating expenses of the New South Wales Crime Commission are only $18 million and rent now
forms a considerable part of that budget? Why was the commission not compensated for this acquisition?

         The Hon. TONY KELLY: I am not 100 per cent sure what that question entails. Two different
properties were involved. When I was Minister for Police a property for which the New South Wales Crime
Commission no longer had a use was transferred. That was a couple of years ago and I do not know what
happened to that property. I am talking about a couple of floors in a particular building that the commission no
longer wanted to use—it was not its main building. If the member is talking about the commission's main
1 December 2010                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                            28643


building, I can advise that the State Property Authority took it over as part of a budget process, I think, two or
three years ago, to ensure that the commission paid rent for parts of properties that it did not use and that it did
not sit on assets and not use them. I assume it was for the latter reason, but I will find out and get back to
the member.

                                         JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

          The Hon. CHRISTINE ROBERTSON: My question is directed to the Attorney General. What is the
latest information on judicial appointments?

        The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: Since taking on this portfolio in 2007 I have had the
responsibility for recommending the appointment of 25 judges and 34 magistrates to the Local Court.

         The Hon. Michael Gallacher: There is one more to go.

         The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: As a matter of fact there are a number to go. I strongly support a
transparent process and equity in appointments, given the vital role that they play in the promotion of equal
opportunity. I make the important point that women comprise more than half the honours graduates from most
of the New South Wales law schools but that they are underrepresented at the Bar. In New South Wales women
make up some 20 per cent of junior counsel and just 6 per cent of senior counsel. A lot more needs to be done in
that regard. When I first started practising law there were only two women magistrates and there was no female
member of either the Supreme Court or the District Court. We have gone a lot further since then. The number of
female Supreme Court judges is now in double digits, around 25 per cent of the District Court bench are female
and 40 per cent of the Local Court bench are female. So there has been a considerable increase in the number of
women appointed to the different jurisdictions. But, as I have said, a lot more needs to be done. I am pleased
that since I have been in a position to be able to do something about this, some 16 per cent of the judges and
38 per cent of the magistrates appointed since 2007 have been women.

         The Hon. Catherine Cusack: Sixteen per cent of judges?

         The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: Sixteen per cent of judges and 38 per cent of magistrates
appointed since 2007 have been women. As I said, there is a bit more to go. I also note that there are other
characteristics of those appointments that I am happy to report on. Among those appointed were 32 solicitors
and barristers from the city and 8 from regional New South Wales; 5 employees from Legal Aid NSW;
3 employees from the Aboriginal Legal Service; 4 employees from the Attorney General's division of the
Department of Justice and Attorney General; 2 Crown prosecutors; and 2 other officers from the New South
Wales Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. There have also been appointments from each of the
following bodies: the New South Wales Public Defenders, the Workers Compensation Commission, academia,
the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, the Federal Court and the New South Wales Local Court.

          I am pleased that not only have we been able to ensure that the judiciary is representative in the sense
of having a greater number of women than has previously been the case, but also we have been able to select
high-calibre people from the various sources I have identified. In addition, I am pleased that we have instituted a
process of reform whereby vacancies, particularly for District Court judge, magistrate, tribunal member, public
defender and Crown prosecutor, are advertised. A list of personal and professional criteria is also considered in
selecting candidates for every judicial office in New South Wales. Those professional qualities include
intellectual and analytical ability; an ability to discharge duties properly; a capacity to work under pressure; and
effective oral, written and interpersonal communication skills. Personal qualities include integrity, independence
and impartiality, good character, common sense and good judgement.

          The process enables anyone with relevant experience to apply or, alternatively, to nominate. With the
exception of the superior courts, applicants appear before a selection panel, independent of institutional or
political bias. The head of the relevant jurisdiction or authority, a retired judicial officer, a leading member of
the profession and a prominent community member go towards constituting a panel. They assess applicants and
they make recommendations to government in line with best practice.

         The Hon. CHRISTINE ROBERTSON: I ask the Attorney General a supplementary question. Will
the Attorney General please elucidate further on the excellent work of the judicial appointment process?
28644                                         LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                 1 December 2010


         The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: I advise the House further that I have recently released
guidelines for the appointment of acting judicial officers. These guidelines have been the subject of consultation
with the heads of jurisdiction. The guidelines indicate that acting judicial officers provide courts with flexibility
in meeting varying workloads and backlogs; that appointments may be made for a period of up to 12 months and
will be made taking into account clearly identified needs and the workloads of the court; and that generally only
former judicial officers will be appointed as acting judicial officers. The use of acting judges assists our court
system to remain efficient and to lead Australia in the provision of many key court services. It also ensures that
highly experienced judges are able to be utilised to assist the court in accordance with the decision of the High
Court in Forge's case.

                                   LOWER HUNTER WATER SUPPLIES

         Dr JOHN KAYE: I direct my question to the Minister for Planning. I refer the Minister to the
announcement that he and the Premier made on Sunday establishing an independent review panel to overview
the development by the New South Wales Office of Water of a new plan to secure water supplies for the Lower
Hunter. Will the Minister assure the House that the panel will genuinely reflect the views of the Hunter
community, which overwhelmingly rejected the development of a desalination plant before all other lower-cost,
less environmentally damaging projects have been fully exploited?

         The Hon. TONY KELLY: This issue is not in my portfolio area; it is the responsibility of the Minister
for Water, the Hon. Phil Costa. It will be his panel. However, members of the community who attended the
media conference requested that they be represented on the panel and the Minister confirmed that, as is the case
with the Sydney panel, the Hunter panel will include a community representative.

                                           OXLEY AREA POLICING

         The Hon. TREVOR KHAN: I direct my question to the Treasurer in his role as Minister representing
the Minister for Police. Will the Minister consider allocating more police officers to the Oxley area command,
and particularly to Tamworth given that it is currently in the midst of a crime wave? The Northern Daily Leader
has reported 63 break-ins in the past 30 days and the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reports that over
the past four years there has been an annual average double-digit growth in rates of indecent assault and motor
vehicle theft.

         The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: I thank the member for his question and I will pass it on to the
Minister for Police for a response.

                                               SYDNEY FERRIES

         The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: My question is directed to the Minister for Transport. Will the Minister
update the House on plans for the procurement of six new vessels for Sydney Ferries?

         The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: This Government has a plan for ferries: to keep them in government
ownership. That is contrary to the approach of members opposite, who would like to set up a franchise like
McDonalds or Donut King. The Keneally Government is committed to providing a first-class ferry service that
meets the needs of the travelling public and that attracts more passengers. The Metropolitan Transport Plan sets
the Government's strategic transport planning agenda for the next 25 years, and it includes a 10-year, fully
funded transport infrastructure package.

         The Hon. Michael Gallacher: Did I see a hamburger and fries arrive at your office?

         The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: They must have gone to the wrong office, because they did not turn
up at mine. The Government will spend $50.2 million over 10 years on transport in the Sydney metropolitan
area, including on improvements to the Sydney Ferries fleet. Under the Metropolitan Transport Plan, the
Government will purchase six new vessels to renew the fleet and to continue to improve services for customers.
That equates to $225 million worth of investment in this iconic part of our public transport system.

         The procurement process for the six new ferries has already commenced. Transport New South Wales
has called for registrations of interest to identify parties who are willing and able to supply the new vessels to
Sydney Ferries. This process will allow industry specialists to provide input into the project's scope, including
the size, capacity and specifications of the new ferries. Transport New South Wales and Sydney Ferries are
1 December 2010                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                            28645


working closely with industry to ensure that the new vessels provide ferry customers with state-of-the-art ferries
now and in the future. This process also provides local manufacturers, innovators and industry leaders with the
opportunity to showcase their products to government. Over time, the six new ferries will replace older vessels,
including the Lady Class ferries, which have been operating on Sydney Harbour since the 1970s.

          The Government is committed to improving services and to keeping Sydney Ferries in public hands.
The people of Sydney made it clear that they do not want to see their iconic green and yellow ferries auctioned
off. As I said, members opposite think this is all about dollars and cents. They would start by franchising
Sydney Ferries and then work their way through our public transport services. Barry O'Farrell wants to sell off
this critical service route by route to the highest bidder and then sit back while services are slashed and jobs are
lost. Parramatta River services—gone! Taronga Zoo services—gone! Darling Harbour services—gone! The
world-famous Manly ferry service—gone! These are not cheeseburgers; they are essential services enjoyed by
millions of Sydneysiders. That is why this Government will invest in, not sell off, Sydney Ferries. We will
expand Sydney Ferries, not slash services. We will support, not slash, the jobs of Sydney Ferries employees.

          Sydney Ferries delivers for Sydney commuters. Patronage has increased by 9 per cent in the past two
years, service and vessel reliability has improved, fleet availability is better and complaints have decreased. The
New South Wales Government is excited about these new vessels. We are looking forward to the future and to
building a ferry network that meets passenger demand and improves services. More than 14 million passenger
journeys are made on our iconic ferries every year. The Government's investment in ferry services will ensure
that that high level of customer service is maintained.

                                         PORT BOTANY REFORMS

         The Hon. IAN WEST: My question is directed to the Minister for Ports and Waterways. Will the
Minister update the House on the implementation of reforms at Port Botany?

         The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: I thank the member for his question and his interest in this matter.
Our ports are a crucial component of the $400-billion New South Wales economy. Each year they handle about
$80 billion worth of trade. Port Botany is the second largest container terminal in Australia. In 2009-10, Port
Botany achieved a record container throughput of 1.93 million 20-foot equivalent units, and that was an increase
of 8 per cent on the previous financial year. Today I can update the House on more good news for our economy.
I am pleased to inform members that last month Port Botany achieved its thirteenth consecutive record of
month-on-month trade growth, demonstrating the continued resilience of the New South Wales economy. Total
trade for the financial year to 31 October 2010 was approximately 10 million mass tonnes, and that is an
increase of 6.2 per cent compared to the same period last year.

         The New South Wales Government is taking decisive action to address land-side issues at Port Botany.
After working with all affected industry sectors we have developed an innovative solution to address the issues.
The solution—which is known as the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy—puts the onus on each party
to take responsibility for their performance. The reforms mean that if road carriers or stevedores do not meet
certain benchmarks, they will pay a penalty to the other party for their poor performance. If truck drivers are
forced to wait, the stevedores must pay them for the time they wait. Conversely, if truck drivers do not arrive on
time for their booking, they will pay a penalty to the stevedore. We want a port at which all users have certainty
and predictability. By reducing congestion through these reforms we can reduce the transit time of goods
through Port Botany, and that will make New South Wales even more internationally competitive.

         The mandatory standards are now in effect. Through the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy
we are ensuring fairness and equity along the supply chain. We are redressing the balance in the relationship
between stevedores and truck drivers so that they both have standards that must be adhered to and penalties will
be applied if they are not. These reforms will also allow Sydney Ports to set the price for rail servicing at the
stevedore terminals. This has been a comprehensive process and it has involved significant industry
consultation. These reforms are supported by a large cross-section of industry, including the Transport Workers
Union—a great representative of truck drivers—the Australian Trucking Association, the Custom Brokers and
Forwarders Association and Shipping Australia.

         The first step will be to obtain vital land-side performance information from the stevedores at the Port
Botany. We will then establish a new regulated charge for rail servicing at the port to keep trucks off the road.
The regulations and standards will be rolled out progressively and are expected to be fully implemented by early
2011. I am pleased to inform the House that the Port Botany land-site improvement strategy has been approved
and its implementation is moving forward. We are confident that we will see an improvement in the supply
chain and in the way Port Botany operates, because it is the gateway to the national economy and to the State
economy. That is why we are investing so much time and effort into Port Botany.
28646                                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                       1 December 2010


                                               SOUTH WEST RAIL LINK

         The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Transport. On
9 September this year the Minister told the House, "The South West Rail Link is being built right now." How
does he reconcile his comments during the recent supplementary estimates hearings into public transport when
he confirmed that, "No track has been laid on the Glenfield to Leppington line"?

         The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: I thank the honourable member for his ongoing interest in the South
West Rail Link. I will make the offer again for the benefit of those on the other side—or, in fact, anyone in the
House—if they would like to see the construction work going on right now on the South West Rail Link, I will
arrange for them to have a guided tour, starting at Glenfield—to look at the flyovers being built right now, and
to look at the construction work being undertaken right now at the station and the completed construction work
at the 700-space car park.

        The Hon. Marie Ficarra: That's somewhere I want to go to.

         The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: I acknowledge the interjection of the Hon. Marie Ficarra. If she
would care to come to my office this afternoon, I will arrange a time to take her and the Hon. Charlie Lynn on a
guided tour. The work is going on right now. The flyovers are being built right now. The construction workers
might not be there today because of the rain but construction work is being done right now on the South West
Rail Link. The Hon. Charlie Lynn can suggest all he likes that nothing is happening and that only the Coalition
will build the South West Rail Link, but every time he and others on the Opposition say that they mislead the
people of south-west Sydney. They mislead them by suggesting that nothing is happening there. Those who
spend any time in that area can see for themselves that work is going on right now. The member says the rail
line has not been built. Unfortunately, a lot of work has to be done before any tracks are laid: drainage work,
flyovers—
[Interruption]

          I invite the members opposite to keep interjecting because by doing so they are showing their ignorance
when it comes to railways. They are showing they know nothing about building railways. Bridges and flyovers
have to be built in order to lay tracks. Do members opposite think that we can hang tracks from the sky or lay
them wherever we like. Serious work has to be done. Those on the other side are obviously completely ignorant
when it comes to anything to do with public transport—other than, of course, selling it. The Government is
delivering on public transport, whether it is with the South West Rail Link, the purchase of six new ferry
vessels, putting new buses on the road or building transit ways. The Government is getting on with the job.
Members opposite continue to mislead. I expect that the Hon. Marie Ficarra and the Hon. Charlie Lynn will be
at my office this afternoon to set up a time and date for a guided tour. If they are not, I will be back here
tomorrow expressing how disappointed I am that they feign interest in this matter and that they are merely
political opportunists.

        The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS: If members have further questions, I suggest that they place
them on notice.

                                  ROYAL NATIONAL PARK DEER REMOVAL

         The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: On 28 October 2010 the Hon. Robert Brown asked me a question in
my capacity as representing the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment. I have been provided with
the following information:
        The number of wild deer removed is as follows:

             •     2002 - 114
             •     2003 - 113
             •     2004 - 190
             •     2005 - 196
             •     2006 - 153
             •     2007 - 95
             •     2008 - 131
             •     2009 - 81
        In 2002 and 2003, the cost per animal was approximately $490. This decreased to $255 by 2006, and is currently approximately
        $308. Costs increase as it becomes more difficult to access a smaller number of deer in a relatively rugged and inaccessible
        environment.

        The deer eradication program in the Royal National Park region has been highly successful.
1 December 2010                                       LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                            28647


        The National Parks and Wildlife Service has reported that deer sightings have decreased during patrols and deer control
        operations over the last eight years and rangers have observed rainforest regeneration in areas previously impacted by deer.
        Government marksmen also advise that it is becoming more difficult to find deer and that they now occur in smaller groups.
        The National Parks and Wildlife Service does not receive data on deer involved in motor vehicle accidents. This information is
        recorded by either the NSW Police or the Roads and Traffic Authority. However, reports from National Parks and Wildlife
        Service staff and the public indicate that the number of deer related accidents has significantly decreased—the National Parks and
        Wildlife Service is not aware of a single incident within the last two months.

                                               PEST AND FERAL ANIMALS
         The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: On 27 October 2010 the Hon. Robert Borsak asked me a question in
my capacity as representing the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment. I have been advised
as follows:
        The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water does not separate funding for the management of pests and weeds
        by park, and does not identify funding on a species by species basis. It is therefore unable to provide specific information dating
        back to 2002 as requested by Mr Borsak MLC. Rather, the department allocates funding on a statewide priority basis. It spent
        approximately $33 million in 2009/10 managing the impacts of pests and weeds in national parks and reserves, a figure similar to
        2008/09.

                                      PRESTONS RECYCLING DUST HAZARD
         The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON: On 27 October 2010 Reverend the Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes asked
me a question in my capacity as representing the Minister for Climate Change and the Environment. I am
advised as follows:
        NACE Civil Engineering Pty Ltd currently operates a waste storage and transfer facility at Yawarra Road, Prestons. Liverpool
        City Council licenses the facility. Liverpool City Council has advised the Department of Environment, Climate Change and
        Water (DECCW) that NACE is not grinding used road materials at the premises. However, it does recycle these materials.

        Council has advised DECCW that the current development consent for the premises does not require the covering of stockpiles.
        However, I understand that council is working with NACE to ensure appropriate dust suppression measures are in place.

        Although DECCW is aware that the inhalation of elevated levels of crystalline silica dust can result in silicosis, it is not aware of
        any specific incidences of this occurring.

        DECCW has not issued any fines in relation to activities at the premises. However, Liverpool City Council has advised that it has
        issued 3 fines to NACE Civil Engineering Pty Ltd.

                                              CENTRAL COAST POLICING

         The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: One 26 October 2010, Reverend the Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes asked
me a question without notice in my capacity as representing the Minister for Police. I have been provided with
the following advice:
        The NSW Police Force has advised me that police of the Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Command have responded to many calls
        for assistance following anti-social behaviour by intoxicated youths in the San Remo/Blue Haven area. In relation to the
        examples cited of a resident claiming assault by up to 30 youths, I understand police records indicate that while a confrontation
        did occur, there were no physical assaults. Police responded and identified a suspect, but due to a lack of positive identification
        he was not charged over the specific threats. However, he was issued with court attendance notices for a number of other matters.

        The Commander is currently considering a range of options in an effort to further bolster the police response.

        Questions without notice concluded.
[The President left the chair at 1.06 p.m. The House resumed at 2.35 p.m.]

                                      RURAL FIRES AMENDMENT BILL 2010

                                EDUCATION AMENDMENT (ETHICS) BILL 2010

             WORKERS' COMPENSATION (DUST DISEASES) AMENDMENT BILL 2010

        Bills received from the Legislative Assembly.
        Leave granted for procedural matters to be dealt with on one motion without formality.

        Motion by the Hon. Michael Veitch agreed to:
        That the bills be read a first time and printed, standing orders be suspended on contingent notice for remaining stages and the
        second readings of the bills be set down as orders of the day for a later hour of the sitting.

        Bills read a first time and ordered to be printed.
        Second readings set down as orders of the day for a later hour.
28648                                             LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                       1 December 2010


                                                TABLING OF PAPERS

         The Hon. Michael Veitch tabled the following papers:

         (1)    Law and Justice Foundation Act 2000—Report of the Law and Justice Foundation for the year ended 30 June 2010

         (2)    Legal Profession Act 2004—Reports for the year ended 30 June 2010:

                Committees of the Law Society of New South Wales
                Law Society of New South Wales Professional Standards Department—volumes 1 and 2, incorporating:
                        Law Society of New South Wales
                        Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund
                        Public Purpose Fund
                Public Defenders Act 1995—Report of the Public Defenders for the year ended 30 June 2010.


         Ordered to be printed on motion by the Hon. Michael Veitch.

 CONTRACT CLEANING INDUSTRY (PORTABLE LONG SERVICE LEAVE SCHEME) BILL 2010

                                 LONG SERVICE CORPORATION BILL 2010

                                                     Second Reading

         Debate resumed from an earlier hour.

         The Hon. SOPHIE COTSIS [2.37 p.m.]: I stated earlier that due to the nature of the cleaning industry
many workers cannot qualify for long service entitlements and that the success of the new portable long service
scheme is best ensured by developing legislation as part of a process which fully takes account of the views of
industry stakeholders. This type of reform requires the meaningful input of informed industry and employee
participants who are best placed to advise the Government how regulations can be developed and implemented
which best fit the specific circumstances of the industry. I am pleased that this bill is clearly a product of this
approach. NSW Industrial Relations undertook a number of activities to ascertain the level of industry support
for the scheme, assess its financial viability and explore optimum administrative arrangements, including
ongoing consultations with peak industry stakeholders, the commissioning of an independent actuarial analysis
and close liaison with NSW Treasury, the Long Service Payments Corporation and the Better Regulation Office.

         Industry stakeholders who participated in the consultation phase included the Liquor, Hospitality and
Miscellaneous Union [LHMU]—the Misses—the Building Services and Contractors Association of Australia,
New South Wales Division, and the Australian Cleaning Contractors Association. The targeted, face-to-face
consultation strategy undertaken by NSW Industrial Relations reflected the fact that the proposal has a sectoral
impact and therefore required the input of informed industry participants who are best placed to advise how the
regulatory proposal can be developed to suit industry-specific circumstances. There were a number of industry
stakeholder consultation meetings and the dialogue continues to ensure this collaborative approach benefits all
stakeholders, particularly the contract cleaners.

         The support of industry stakeholders reflects the strong belief that a statutory scheme supported by a
comprehensive workplace education and compliance regime will act as a practical and effective deterrent for
non-compliant operators. Importantly, the new scheme will help maintain a level playing field for employers
competitively tendering for cleaning services contracts while protecting the core benefits of essential service
workers. I am told that the stakeholder consultations were characterised by a spirit of informed and constructive
engagement. The overarching theme of the discussions was the need to establish a scheme that was equitable
and efficient.

         It is worth mentioning that the peak employer organisations represent the views and interests of a broad
spectrum of both large and small employers operating in the contract cleaning industry. The scheme model has
not been blinkered by the considerations of big business; it has been particularly mindful of its implications for
small business operators. The stakeholders unanimously agreed that the scheme should primarily be one of
administrative simplicity and transparent in its operation. The provisions of the bill are designed to achieve these
regulatory objectives.

         The stakeholders expressed the strong view that the proposal should provide for a paid leave
entitlement in contrast to a scheme that provided for a long service payment in lieu of a leave entitlement. The
1 December 2010                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                             28649


long service payment option is consistent with the current portability arrangements for the New South Wales
building and construction industry. The preference for a paid leave entitlement reflected the common view that
it was a paid respite from work undertaken in the industry that was the most important aspect of the benefit
rather than simply a monetary payment.

          The stakeholders supported the development of operational rules which are clear and fair, with built-in
flexibility for workers and employers to reach genuine agreement on matters such as when leave should be
taken. The passage of this bill will secure a long service leave entitlement for workers who are prevented from
accruing this entitlement under existing provisions. The bill effectively balances this objective with the business
needs of employers by ensuring that all industry employers equitably share the responsibility for paying levies
to create a pool of funds to meet the costs of workers' long service leave entitlements.

          I take this opportunity to thank my colleague the Hon. Ian West for his tireless work in campaigning for
the introduction of a portable long service leave scheme for cleaners. My colleague has been advocating for this
for a very long time. Earlier this year the Hon. Ian West organised for many of my colleagues to meet with
school cleaners so we could better understand the struggle they face each day, and to listen to their wonderful
stories and of course their concerns. One of the constant concerns raised was the inability for cleaners to access
their long service leave entitlement. This is not a new issue, and I am sure it is one that the Hon. Ian West heard
when he first began at the Miscellaneous Workers Union back in the 1980s. Essential service cleaners can now
access long service leave for the first time, a reform that everyone in this place should feel proud of. I commend
the bill to the House.

          Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [2.43 p.m.]: On behalf of the Greens I add to the chorus of strong support
we have heard in this House for the Contract Cleaning Industry (Portable Long Service Leave Scheme) Bill
2010. That strong chorus of support for the bill recognises the need of this particular marginal and vulnerable
element of the workforce for this kind of statutory protection. The approximately 44,000 cleaners this bill is
likely to apply to are clearly workers who are on the edge of industrial protection at the moment: they are in the
margins of the current systems for industrial protection. The fact that so few of them ever receive any
entitlements to long service leave is reflective of an industry that has such short-term and impermanent
employment relationships. These workers can be in the industry for 10, 20 or 30 years but they never receive
their long service leave because their service is broken up into stints of 12 months or less, in some cases stints of
three or four years, often at the same workplace for a variety of cleaning companies but they never get that
constancy of employment of 5 or 10 years that they require in order to get the benefits under the existing Act.

         Under the bill, once a worker in the cleaning industry accrues 3,650 days of being registered in the
industry—let us reflect on that: 3,650 days working in the cleaning industry—regardless of whether they have
worked for company A, B or C throughout that period, they deserve a paid break with two months wages. They
should have that entitlement. The fact that the industry is structured in such a way that cleaners do not obtain the
benefits under the current scheme obviously needs fixing. It is heartening to see the consensus support for this
vulnerable set of workers.

          There are some telling statistics in relation to the cleaning industry that show that cleaners need broader
protection. The bill is the start of what hopefully will be a series of protection measures that this House can aim
to produce not just for this industry but for other marginalised workers. Few people would realise that the
workers compensation premiums cleaning companies pay for their workers are roughly comparable to the
workers compensation premiums paid in the building industry. That is not because of workers compensation
insurers having a rapacious attitude towards cleaning companies; it is because of the large and increasing
number of trip and fall accidents cleaning workers have as they rush through their jobs to clean ever-increasing
areas of office space, often on very tight budgets from their employers. As they literally run around the offices,
often with a load on their back in the form of a vacuum cleaner, emptying multiple recycling and garbage
facilities, they are liable to suffer a large number of trip and fall accidents. Because of that the workers
compensation premiums paid by the cleaning industry are comparable to those paid by the building industry—
which all of us would recognise as a dangerous industry. These are clearly vulnerable workers who require close
attention, and I am pleased that they are getting close attention in relation to their long service entitlements.

         The Greens are pleased that an amendment that was proposed from my offices was adopted by Minister
Paul Lynch in the other place and incorporated in the bill. The amendment requires a review of the operation of
the Act to be conducted with a view to assessing the viability of extending the operation of the portable long
service leave scheme that applies to the contract cleaning industry to all workers in New South Wales. The
review is to have particular regard to workers in the social and community services industry, the security
28650                                          LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                 1 December 2010


industry, and any other industry in which workers are generally engaged for short periods. There is a
requirement for the review to report within 12 months of the middle of next year.

         I am pleased that the Government supported the amendment in the other place, as did the Coalition.
I note that all parties in this House also support the amendment. The reason for the amendment is quite simple.
Whilst approximately 44,000 workers in the cleaning industry will benefit from the bill—that is a great outcome
for workers in the cleaning industry; it is great to see the kind of benefits cleaners are getting from a particularly
long and successful, if hard, struggle that started with their Clean Start campaign—a large number of the
approximately 3.5 million workers in this State are now in a form of employment where they do not receive
long service leave. I cite as an example people working as contractors within the public service and people
working in the catering industry, the security industry or the mining industry, contract teachers, and private
nurses. All these areas involve employment relationships which often are now based on contracts for 6, 12 or
18-months or three-years. At the end of those contracts none of those workers accrue an entitlement to long
service leave.

          Take the example of contractors working in the public sector who might be on rolling 12-month
contracts. Those contractors may work for 10 or 12 years in a particular government department but because
their employment ends at the end of each 12 months they are not accruing entitlement to long service leave.
Under the current statutory scheme people get accrued entitlement only after five years of service, and then it is
accrued only if a person leaves owing to a personal or family circumstance, or by reason of redundancy or
termination. A person can only receive a fully-fledged accrued statutory entitlement after 10 years of working
for the same employer.

          Over 3.5 million people work day in and day out across New South Wales. I find it remarkable that the
House has not sought to catch up with the basic concept of industrial reality before now: that after a worker has
done 10 years labour, or 3,650 days of work, they are entitled to expect a minimum two months of paid long
service leave. They deserve to have a break and spend some time with their family. They can take that trip
around Australia that they often talk about to each other around the water cooler. Surely all workers deserve
that, not just those in the cleaning industry. One would hope that the review will look at the changes in industrial
reality that have occurred over the past 30 years—since the Long Service Leave Act was last reviewed.

         Over the past 30 years the nature of employment has changed drastically and it is very hard to find
longitudinal studies in New South Wales or Australia that deal with that change. A study conducted in the
United States of America in 2008 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics looked at the number of jobs people born in
the years 1957 to 1964 had held between the ages of18 to 42 years. It found that those younger baby boomers
had held on average10.8 jobs during that time. If that is the average in the United States—and one would not
have thought the average would be substantially different in New South Wales—almost none of those workers
would have accrued an entitlement to long service leave. This is quite different from the industrial
circumstances that existed in the 1960s and 1970s, where people would commence working with a company, a
local government authority or a public service agency, and would probably have a 20- or 30-year career in that
one employment. But things have changed.

          The current provisions under the Long Service Leave Act make enormous sense for those people who
expect to have 10, 20 or 30 years of employment with the one entity. Current employment and industrial reality
is quite different. These days, with people having on average 10.8 jobs in their key working period and moving
from employer to employer, only a small fraction of them will receive entitlements to long service leave under
the current provisions. It is well nigh time we reviewed this. It is well nigh time we looked at having a portable
long service leave entitlement for all workers in New South Wales. Why should not all workers be given the
benefits we are about to give cleaners? Of course cleaners should have the benefits. Of course cleaners work in a
difficult industry and are deserving of the members of this place protecting them. But the argument works as
well for those working in the security industry, for those working on contract in the public sector, and for those
working in the catering industry. In fact, it works as well for all of us. It would be terrific to see a positive
review come out in the middle of 2013, but a campaign we can all aim to lead between now and then is to
improve long service leave entitlements for all workers. I commend the bill to the House.

         Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [2.53 p.m.]: On behalf of the Christian Democratic Party I am
pleased to support the Contract Cleaning Industry (Portable Long Service Leave Scheme) Bill 2010. This bill
will establish a scheme for the portability of long service leave in the contract cleaning industry. The scheme
will operate in a broadly similar manner to comparable schemes for the industry in the Australia Capital
Territory and Queensland. The Christian Democratic Party is pleased to support the bill as for the first time it
1 December 2010                                       LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                     28651


will provide justice for the 30,000 cleaners in New South Wales who are employed under commercial cleaning
contracts. The bill will eliminate the inequity experienced by those thousands of contract cleaners who, through
no fault of their own, are unable to access long service leave entitlements. There are possibly 44,000 cleaners
working in New South Wales. Around 30,000 of those workers are engaged under commercial cleaning
contracts, working for consecutive, unrelated employers, and are unable to accrue the requisite 10 years
continuous service with a single employer to be eligible for long service leave benefits under the Long Service
Leave Act 1955.

         In the past many complaints have been received about unscrupulous contractors who have exploited the
cleaners working for them. Often when new contracts are awarded new contractors seek to increase profits by
increasing workload, and this puts more pressure on cleaners. This bill will provide justice to those 30,000
cleaners of the 44,000 cleaners working in New South Wales who are employed under commercial cleaning
contracts. Changes in cleaning contracts may result, for example, in cleaners being transferred every five years
to a new employer without choice, and this makes recognition of long service leave impossible. That cycle is
repeated over and over again with the high frequency of changeover in cleaning projects.

         It is also pleasing that the bill is supported by various unions and contract associations : the Liquor,
Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, the Building Service Contractors Association of Australia (New South
Wales Division), and the Australian Cleaning Contractors Association. One of the reasons for their support is
that the bill will give order within the industry to the benefit of both employers and employees. I note that a
three-part industry advisory committee will oversight this legislation. The committee will comprise nine
members, including one chairperson, two representatives from Unions NSW, two representatives from the
Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (New South Wales Branch), two representatives from the Building
Services Contractors Association, and two representatives from the Australian Cleaning Contractors
Association.

         This is a promising development. It shows the cooperation within the industry and the unions
representing those cleaners. It will provide for greater cooperation and the efficient working of this legislation in
the future. The bill provides that contract cleaning industry workers will be entitled to 8.67 weeks of long
service leave after 3,650 days service in the industry—the equivalent to 10 years service—and further
entitlements will be available after second and subsequent blocks of 1,825 days—the equivalent of five years
service. This is entirely consistent with the benefits available to all other workers under the general Long
Service Leave Act 1955. I am pleased to support the bill, and I commend it to the House.

          The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (Parliamentary Secretary) [2.58 p.m.], in reply: I thank all honourable
members for their contribution to this debate. It is clear that this bill has strong support across the Chamber.
I place on record my appreciation for the work of those cleaners who have been involved for quite some time in
the campaign to win this entitlement. Many members met with a group of cleaners who came into Parliament a
couple of months ago to tell their stories. They told of their work particularly within our schools and other
buildings throughout the State—often unheard and often unseen over many hours. Those hours are beginning to
reflect some of the hours seen in the upper House this week. I want to place on record my appreciation and the
appreciation of all members of this Chamber for their efforts to win this important reform. I am proud to be part
of a Government that is bringing forward this reform. I commend the bill to the House.

         Question—That these bills be now read a second time—put and resolved in the affirmative.

         Motion agreed to.

         Bills read a second time.

         Leave granted to proceed to the third reading of the bills forthwith.

                                                        Third Reading

         Motion by the Hon. Penny Sharpe agreed to:

         That these bills be now read a third time.

         Bills read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
28652                                                  LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                             1 December 2010


                                EDUCATION AMENDMENT (ETHICS) BILL 2010

                                                          Second Reading

         The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (Parliamentary Secretary) [3.00 p.m.], on behalf of the Hon. John
Hatzistergos: I move:

        That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

        Leave granted.
        The introduction of an ethics course to run alongside special religious education—SRE or scripture—provides an important
        choice for the public school parents of New South Wales.

        Such a course fills a gap identified by individual parents and the New South Wales Federation of Parents and Citizens
        Associations.

        For many years parents have been lobbying for a viable and meaningful alternative to special religious education. In some
        schools not all faiths are offered as special religious education alternatives.

        In others, significant numbers of parents choose not to send their children to special religious education. The place of religious
        education in New South Wales public schools has been guaranteed for over a century. It arose out of the establishment of the
        New South Wales public education system by Henry Parkes.

        This was reaffirmed most recently in the New South Wales Education Act of 1990 which in part states:

                 ... in every Government school time is to be allowed for the religious education of children of any religious persuasion.

        The right to religious education is an essential part of New South Wales public education. Also importantly the Education Act
        guarantees the right of parents of children in New South Wales public schools to opt out of special religious education if that is
        their wish. Section 33 of the Act states:

                 No child at a Government school is to be required to receive any general religious education or special religious
                 education if the parent of the child objects to the child's receiving that education.

        These sections of the Act balance the rights of parents who wish their children to engage in religious education with the rights of
        parents who do not wish their children to receive religious instruction.

        It recognises that if these two rights are to coexist, there must be time set aside for special religious education that is outside the
        teaching of the curriculum.

        The Act clearly encapsulates the two options: the right to religious instruction and therefore to having time set aside in the school
        week for it to occur and the right to withdraw from religious instruction.

        Most importantly, these two options are defined in terms of parental choice. As it stands, the Act does not require amendment to
        allow the choice of an ethics course.

        An ethics course merely needs to be inserted in this time set aside for religious instruction for those parents who have exercised
        the choice legislated to them in section 33. So why is this legislation necessary? It has been made necessary by the opportunism
        of the New South Wales Opposition.

        It is necessary because New South Wales Coalition members believe that they have the right to prevent children engaging in an
        ethics course in the time set aside for special religious education.

        They have clearly stated that, if elected in 2011, parents who opt out of special religious education will not be allowed to send
        their children to an authorised, volunteer-delivered ethics course—and this from the party of individual choice and personal
        freedom.

        This Government, responding to the legitimate requests of the most important stakeholders in public education, the parents of
        children who attend our schools, has decided to revise and modernise a policy to reflect the wishes of those same parents.

        Will children be compelled to do ethics? Of course not.

        Does the provision of ethics alongside special religious education create unfair competition? Of course not. No more than any of
        the current faith groups compete with each other.

        In this matter more than any other, choice is not competition.

        Parents can at any time decide to enrol their children in special religious education, move them from faith group to faith group,
        opt out entirely or choose to return to special religious education after having opted out. It is all up to the parents, as it must be.
1 December 2010                                      LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                            28653


       The ethics trial was introduced because for many parents—those whose faith was not provided in special religious education and
       those who chose not to enrol their children—the Department of Education SRE policy allows for almost no meaningful activity
       in the legislated time set aside for special religious education.

       The department's SRE policy was designed at a time when the vast majority of children attended "scripture". Its intention was to
       enshrine that right and to ensure that while children attended SRE they did not miss out on valuable syllabus-related work.

       It may come as a surprise to the Opposition but many children no longer attend SRE. In some schools this is a majority of
       students.

       In many others it is a sizeable proportion. And what do these students currently do while others are at SRE? They chat, they read
       quietly, they watch movies.

       Many parents are disappointed by this, many are appalled and angry.

       This is where the ethics trial originated—by and through parents who wanted their children to use valuable school time more
       productively, and wanted it used to discuss some of the same questions explored in special religious education: important
       questions of right and wrong, appropriate behaviour, empathy and truth.

       The trial occurred in 10 volunteer schools in term 2 this year. The schools came from across the Sydney metropolitan area and
       from rural New South Wales.

       They represented a fair cross-section of New South Wales school communities. In all the schools, parents met and discussed their
       involvement in the trial.

       The trial was evaluated by Dr Sue Knight and judged to be successful within the terms of reference of the evaluation. That
       evaluation is publicly available.

       The Opposition should read it. Many parents in New South Wales want an additional choice if they decide that their children will
       not do scripture.

       This was why the New South Wales Government decided this week to allow ethics as an option in New South Wales schools to
       run alongside special religious education.

       And in order to deliver this option and provide it to more parents, the Department of Education's SRE policy needs to be
       amended.

       Now of course the Opposition has decided that the wishes of vast numbers of active and concerned parents should be ignored.
       They have publicly stated that they will oppose ethics irrespective of the legitimate wishes of these parents.

       The only reason this legislation is in the House is because this Government believes that the rights and choices of a significant
       number of public school parents should not be trampled by the Opposition.

       Their absurd policy position has necessitated this amendment to the Education Act. The Government believes that if the Coalition
       wishes to remove this parental choice it will have to be done through the Parliament and with the scrutiny of the Parliament.

       The legislation is very simple. It adds a new section 33A, special education in ethics as a secular alternative to special religious
       education. It states:

               (1)      Special education in ethics is allowed as a secular alternative to special religious education at Government
                        schools.

               (2)      If the parent of a child objects to the child receiving special religious education, the child is entitled to receive
                        special education in ethics, but only if:

                        (a)      it is reasonably practicable for special education in ethics to be made available to the child at the
                                 Government school, and

                        (b)      the parent requests that the child receive special education in ethics.

               (3)      A Government school cannot be directed (by the Minister or otherwise) not to make special education in ethics
                        available at the school.

       Its intention is to enshrine the right to a secular ethics course for those parents who have chosen that their children not attend
       scripture and to prevent this choice being taken from them unnecessarily.

       Section 33A (1) allows for special education in ethics as a secular alternative to SRE. Section 33A (2) states that if parents
       choose that their children not attend SRE they are entitled to special education in ethics.

       Section 33A (2) ( a) and (b) specify the circumstances under which special education in ethics can occur. Section 33A (3) speaks
       for itself.

       It prevents an education Minister from vetoing the legitimate choice of New South Wales parents in relation to a public school's
       delivery of special education in ethics.
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         We believe that the whim of an opportunistic education Minister should not overrule the rights of parents when it comes to
         this matter.

         It is perfectly reasonable for an education Minister to oppose the teaching of ethics. They can exercise that opinion in relation to
         their own children but not on behalf of other parents.

         Section 33A (2) (a) is specifically designed to take into account the capacity of the school to deliver an ethics course through the
         availability of sufficient volunteers.

         The "if it is reasonably practicable" referred to in the amendment is in relation to this capacity. Section 33A (2) (b) states that the
         parents must request special education in ethics be provided to their child.

         So, if the amendment becomes law, special education in ethics will now be allowed, parents must actively opt out of special
         religious education and parents now have an entitlement that special education in ethics be provided to their children.

         However, as is the case with SRE, the provision of such a course depends on the availability of volunteers.

         This is the intention of section 33A (2) (b). The Department of Education policy will be amended accordingly and provide
         appropriate guidance to parents and schools about the conduct of such courses.

         The courses will be delivered by the St James Ethics Centre and be delivered by trained volunteers, mirroring as far as possible
         the process for the delivery of special religious education.

         But, most importantly, a quite reasonable and legitimate choice for parents will be enshrined in legislation. I commend the bill to
         the House.

          The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER [3.01 p.m.]: The genesis of the Education Amendment (Ethics)
Bill 2010 goes back to November last year when Mr Nathan Rees was still the Premier. The New South Wales
Labor Government announced a 10-week trial of ethics classes in 10 New South Wales government schools for
students who opted out of special religious education [SRE]. Special religious education is defined in the New
South Wales Department of Education and Training policy as "Education in the beliefs and practices of an
approved religious persuasion by authorised representatives of that persuasion". Special religious education has
been part of the curriculum in New South Wales State schools since the inception of free public education. It is
legislated for in section 17 of the Education Act, as is the right of parents to withdraw their children from this
religious teaching in section 18. The latest Department of Education and Training policy on the implementation
of religious education states:
         Schools are to provide appropriate care and supervision at school for students not attending SRE. This may involve students in
         other activities such as completing homework, reading and private study. These activities should neither compete with SRE nor
         be alternative lessons in the subjects within the curriculum or other areas, such as ethics, values, civics or general religious
         education.

The New South Wales Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations commissioned the St James Ethics
Centre to develop and deliver the ethics course, which ran during term two this year for students in years 5 and
6, stage three. The schools involved in the trial were self-selected and nominated by their parents and citizens
associations. Approximately 530 students participated in the trial. The Department of Education and Training
then commissioned an independent evaluation of the trial, which was undertaken by Dr Sue Knight of the
University of South Australia. Submissions were invited until 5 November 2010 on the recommendations
contained in the report. Some of the submissions, which have been made public in recent days, contain mixed
views. It is obvious to all members from the communications that we have received on this topic that many
thousands of our constituents are opposed to extending the trial but such a move has many supporters as well.
On 20 October 2010 the Minister for Education and Training, the Hon. Verity Firth, told the other place:
         The evaluation has found high levels of engagement amongst students and has found that the course enabled them to discuss and
         understand the principles of ethical decision making. It found that the course met its aims. Overall, it is a very positive report that
         makes a number of recommendations to be considered if the course is approved.

On reading the report, I think it is fair to say that Minister Firth's assessment of the evaluation is a most
generous one; the Knight report contains a number of criticisms of the ethics course content and the way in
which it was delivered. The review also canvassed risks associated with an ethics course as proposed by the
Government and by this bill. The evaluation was set up to make recommendations for improvements to the
quality of the course and support material and/or arrangements for the delivery of the course. None of the
recommendations actually says that the ethics course should be expanded. Most of the recommendations deal
with matters that need to be changed and fixed if the ethics trial were to be expanded as is envisaged in this bill.

       Recommendation 1 starts with the words, "Should the decision be made to offer an ethics-based
complement to SRE more widely it is recommended that". Recommendation 2 starts with the words, "That in
1 December 2010                                       LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                           28655


any future iterations of the course". Recommendation 3 starts similarly, saying, "That in any future iteration of
the course". Recommendation 4 starts with the words, "Should a decision be made to offer the ethics course
more widely across the State it is recommended that". Recommendation 5 starts with the words, "That in the
event of a wider roll-out of an ethics-based complement to SRE". Recommendation 6, the final
recommendation, relates to the SRE curricuum, not the ethics trial.

          The report points out that in all States in Australia the States' education statutes provide parents with
the opportunity to withdraw their children from SRE classes. However, it seems that no State implements a
structured program of learning for non-SRE students. This bill obviously provides for an expansion beyond the
trial and proposes the enshrinement of ethics classes in the Education Act. In considering this issue, the House
must also note that the trial ethics course was offered in the same format as the SRE course—that is, parents
could opt out of the ethics course in the same way they can opt out of SRE. In the trial in the 10 schools one
third of the non-SRE students opted out of the ethics class.

          The Liberals and Nationals Opposition does not believe that the ethics course is a solution to the issue
that exists in our schools: namely, what to do with children who choose to opt out of SRE. That is an important
question which we believe is not satisfactorily answered by an expansion of the trial. I will refer to some of the
issues raised in Dr Knight's review. Subject matter that was considered as part of the 10-week course included
fairness, lying, ethical principles, graffiti, the use and abuse of animals, interfering with nature, virtues and
vices, children's rights and the good life. Originally 10 lessons were proposed for inclusion in the trial—one a
week. They included teaching about controversial material on terrorism and designer babies. The Board of
Studies intervened to remove that material from the course. That was appropriate.

          Another issue that was raised in the review related to the structure of the classes. Loosely organised and
facilitated discussion presents a real risk that volunteer ethics teachers will put words into students' mouths.
A number of volunteers expressed the view that there was not a right or wrong answer in a given situation.
According to the review and to the Department of Education and Training a significant cost will result from
ethics classes being rolled out in more schools in 2011. Under the trial agreement the St James Ethics Centre
paid all the costs of the pilot. These costs were significant. The review states:

         Further roll-out would require significant financial and organisational resources in order to support a project orders of magnitude
         more complex than the ethics trial.

To expand the trial from 10 schools to more or to all New South Wales government primary schools substantial
funding would be required, and there are concerns that this financial responsibility would eventually be shifted
from the St James Ethics Centre to the New South Wales Government. But the Department of Education and
Training has said that it will not cover the additional costs. We note also that the department has raised serious
questions about the organisation and management of a wider rollout of the ethics classes and has asked who will
take responsibility for the classes? Presumably, responsibility will shift to school principals and more
organisational input will be required from the department. The report states:

         These concerns are well founded as indicated by the description of challenges faced by school communities.

Moreover, the report states:
         It seems clear that further responsibilities would be imposed by the need to ensure that approved providers meet the same high
         standards of probity required of providers of SRE. Religious organisations must seek the approval of the Minister before they can
         teach SRE in schools. Over one hundred providers are now registered, and applications are referred to the Minister by the DET.
         Over time, a wider roll-out of an ethics-based complement to SRE is likely to attract applications from any number of providers
         and these applications should be subject to the same approval process as applications from religious organisations. This
         imperative not only imposes a further impost on the Department of Ed and Training, but raises issues in relation to
         approval criteria.

Special religious education providers point out that they are not able to use any of the resources of the
Department of Education and Training in providing special religious education, and they accept that as part of a
satisfactory arrangement. If the bill passes, special religious education providers will require an undertaking
from the Government that the ethics course will be provided on a basis equal to that of special religious
education—that is, the department's teachers must not be used to teach the ethics course and that no resources
from the department will be used to provide the course, other than the resources of the Board of Studies, which
would review the curriculum content as it did in the trial.
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         The review also envisages that the broader rollout of the ethics course will "attract applications from
any number of providers". Who might those providers be? The trial was conducted by a very highly regarded
organisation, the St James Ethics Centre—an organisation with which many members interact on a fairly regular
basis. The St James Ethics Centre consulted with the Liberals and Nationals on this issue, and we have no
concern about that organisation providing ethics courses. The department would have to oversight providers, but
some of our constituents have expressed concern about what other organisations might be involved.

         The review also points out that the St James Ethics Centre had volunteers to teach ethics classes and
that some departmental teachers had volunteered to do the teaching. However, the department already has
indicated that this will not be permitted in the future. The Knight report states:

        . .. DET policy is that its teachers will not be involved in any further teaching of the ethics course.

The Knight report expressed concern also about course content. Dr Knight referred in particular to "moral
relativism" and acknowledged that the word "ethics" may not adequately express what the course is about. So, in
some respects, this is a work-in-progress. Some principals involved in the trial expressed a concern that the
classes do not teach right from wrong, and one principal told Dr Knight that the classes failed to provide
students with a "moral compass". The report commented that there was insufficient time to allow students to
struggle through the formulations of the principles that were guiding their reasoning; rather the volunteer had
little choice but to "put words into their mouths". It commented further that time was not the only confounding
factor here. Many of the volunteers saw their role as solely one of encouraging students to express their ideas
and reasons in order that many different viewpoints come to be aired in the classroom or that students learn to
disagree without anger. A number of volunteers also expressed the view that there are no right or wrong
answers. The review also states:

        Again, it seems unfortunate that documentation supporting and explicating both the philosophical framework within which the
        course sits and the 'ethical inquiry' pedagogy employed were not made available to the religious groups. Such information would
        have gone some way to allay fears that the course is based on moral relativism or mere values clarification and related worries
        that within an ethical inquiry approach peer pressure becomes the arbiter of moral worth.

So quite a few issues have been exposed in the review of the trial. As we know, various churches have
expressed their concern about the extension of the trial. Those concerns have been expressed over the past
months, and in respect of the bill that has now emerged one of the church groups, the Catholic Education
Commission New South Wales, has communicated with both the Opposition and the Government in the
following terms:

        The Catholic Education Commission acknowledges the right and duty of any government to regulate the provision of study,
        including ethics courses, provided for students attending government schools. CEC also acknowledges the inherent right of
        parents to seek exemption from particular courses of study on the grounds of conscientious belief. However, the commission
        believes the proposed bill to be inherently flawed because it (1) actually privileges ethics classes since as a consequence of the
        proposed clause 33A (3) ethics classes are effectively removed from ministerial or departmental oversight once any school
        commences any course; (2) creates an educational hazard in that for the first time a course of study will be able to operate in a
        NSW school even if the general community and its representative government identify objective concerns with its content,
        methodology or viability, since once established an ethics course will be able to either modified or terminated by either the
        Minister or the Director General; and (3) it compromises the Minister in relation to the recommendations of the recent NSW
        ethics course trial—final report October 2010—by failing to give the Minister adequate scope for determining the nature of an
        ethics course, criteria for approval of content and the requirements for approving teachers for such a course.

The Anglican Church Diocese through its Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen has said of this issue:

        The decision to allow the introduction of ethics lessons during time set aside for special religious education [SRE] is a bad
        decision made under political pressure, which will impoverish the education of many NSW public school children.

        Philosophical ethics is not a real alternative to the study of religion and it is unfair to confront parents with the dilemma of having
        them both taught at the same time. The examined life starts with a well-rounded education.

        Our concerns are for the children who now will be denied an introduction to the great questions posed by the faith traditions. For
        example, even though the ethics lesson plans were not publicly released, it is apparent that they did not include clear guidance on
        right and wrong.


If the bill is passed—and it probably will be—it is necessary that the Minister for Education and Training ensure
that students who opt not to undertake the ethics course will be subject to departmental policy, which states that
they should be doing "homework, reading and private study". Much has been made about giving students
choices in pursuing an education and, of course, choice is vital. The Nationals and the Liberals have a very long
and positively powerful history on choice as it relates to education. But that which is to be on offer needs to be
1 December 2010                                      LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                       28657


considered in the context of what is appropriate for our schools and students. Considerable concern has been
expressed by some about the ethics course being offered at the same time as special religious education courses,
especially when that is seen in the context of longstanding departmental policy, which, in our view, has been
good policy. The Liberals and The Nationals have taken into account the longstanding arrangements that have
been in place regarding special religious education and we have come to the view that the arguments advanced
for changing longstanding practice are not sufficiently strong. Therefore, we oppose the bill.

          Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [3.20 p.m.]: I speak for the Christian Democratic Party on the
Education Amendment (Ethics) Bill 2010, which amends the Education Act 1990 to allow special education in
ethics as a secular alternative to special religious education in government schools. The Christian Democratic
Party is totally opposed to the bill. We oppose it because it will create a secular, humanist, philosophical ethics
course in New South Wales schools in 2011. The bill is designed to prevent the next democratically elected
government, which we anticipate will be a Coalition government, from implementing its own education policies.
Those policies may cover a range of issues, including the future of any ethics course. It is shameful for a Labor
Government, in cooperation with the Greens, to pre-empt the wishes of the people of New South Wales in this
way. The Government acknowledged that aim in the second reading speech. The Hon. Verity Firth, the Minister
for Education and Training, stated:

         So why is this legislation necessary? It has been made necessary by the opportunism of the New South Wales Opposition. It is
         necessary because New South Wales Coalition members believe that they have the right to prevent children engaging in an ethics
         course in the time set aside for special religious education.

In other words, the Minister acknowledges that the driving force behind this bill is a desire to frustrate the
democratically elected government after 26 March next year. In my 29 years in this Parliament I have never
seen a bill designed for that purpose. I have never seen a Coalition government attempt to thwart the legislative
agenda of an incoming Labor government, or vice versa, in this way. That is what this Government is attempting
to do. It is even more shameful that that is being done using legislation dealing with ethics. We have an
unethical bill dealing with ethics. This bill could be used in an ethics class as an example of unethical behaviour.
It is a good example of what politicians should not do because it is unethical.

         As members know, the ethics course trial was conducted in 10 primary schools this year. The Minister
for Education and Training and the Government keep saying that the ethics course has nothing to do with
scripture. The word "scripture" is traditionally used because when classes in religion were established in public
schools their purpose was to convey the teachings of the Bible, which are referred to as "scripture". The Minister
has repeatedly said that the Government is in no way undermining the importance of scripture classes in State
schools. However, the results of the ethics class trial demonstrate the opposite. The Government said that the
ethics course would be offered only to children who do not attend scripture classes.

         Dr John Kaye: It is still true.

         Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: It is not true; it is a lie. Once again, it is unethical. The truth is that
the ethics course was promoted to every student at the 10 primary schools that participated in the trial. That
broke the trust behind the introduction of the ethics course—it was to be offered only to children who did not
attend scripture classes. It was promoted to every student and we know why. I do not know whether that
happened at the direction of the Minister for Education and Training, but it did happen at the direction of the
Director General of the Department of Education. He apparently directed schools to publicise the course to all
students. That immediately created competition between the ethics course and scripture classes. Notices about
the ethics course were sent to every parent of a child at those schools. They were all offered the option of
sending their children to scripture classes or ethics classes. That is obviously their choice, but that competition
should never have occurred. The Government broke its promise not to create that situation. The basis of the
course was that it would be offered only to children who did not attend scripture classes.

         Some teachers at the participating schools also actively recruited children to attend ethics classes.
I understand that some of them even taught the course, and that was contrary to the policy of the Department of
Education and Training. They apparently volunteered to take the classes because no-one else was available to
teach them. Primary school children look up to their teachers; they idolise them. Members can imagine the
scenario of a teacher saying to his or her class, "I will be teaching the ethics course tomorrow. I promise you an
exciting, interesting time." That would naturally encourage children who would have normally attended a
scripture class to attend the ethics class instead. As a result, attendances at scripture classes declined, in some
schools by 50 per cent or 70 per cent.
28658                                                  LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                            1 December 2010


         Joy Houghton, a friend and a scripture teacher at one of the participating schools, rang me in tears to
tell me that she had only one child left in her class. She was devastated. That proves my argument that ethics
classes were run in direct competition with scripture classes. I cannot prove it, but I believe that some people—
perhaps including the Minister for Education and Training—totally disagree with scripture classes being offered
in our schools. I know that many in the Teachers Federation object to them. They confuse our public education
system with the American system, which does not provide for scripture classes or bible teaching in government
schools.

          For more than a century New South Wales legislation dealing with education has guaranteed the place
of religion-based classes in our public schools. Scripture classes in public schools were enshrined in New South
Wales legislation by Sir Henry Parkes and their place in the system was reaffirmed most recently in the
Education Act 1990, which states:

         In every government school, time is to be allowed for the religious education of children of any religious persuasion

The right to attend scripture classes is an essential part of New South Wales public education. Nothing should be
done to undermine the right of parents to have their children attend classes in the teachings of their religion. Our
state schools offer a range of religion classes. In the early days of the colony those classes would have been in
the teachings of the Anglican Church. They were then expanded to cover the teachings of the Presbyterians, the
Baptists and, when it was recognised, of the Catholic Church. Our multicultural immigration program has now
seen those classes expanded to include the beliefs of Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and many others.

          Why is this Labor Government undermining a very important part of our multicultural society? Our
commitment to freedom of religion has enabled parents to choose to have their children taught the tenets of their
religion. Parents may not have had access to a church, temple or mosque, but their children have been able to
attend religious instruction in our state education system, and that is right and proper.

         I note too there is confusion in the Government's mind—and I am not surprised because many school
teachers are confused as well—over the word "secular". Sir Henry Parkes, in establishing the public school
system, which was to include special religious education and general religious education, said that it had to be
"secular religious education". It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but he said it. What did he mean? He
meant it had to be Bible-based, or scripture-based, and not denominational indoctrination. He was trying to
avoid conflict within the public school system. He meant that the essentials of the Christian faith or the Christian
religion should be taught in those early days when there were no other religious teachers. So, the word "secular"
in the Education Act was never meant to mean "non-religious". Yet the Minister has used that word in this bill.
It provides:

         (1)   Special education in ethics is allowed as a secular alternative to special religious education at Government schools.

         (2)   If the parent of a child objects to the child receiving special religious education, the child is entitled to receive special
               education in ethics, but only if:

                 (a)      it is reasonably practicable for special education in ethics to be made available to the child at the Government
                          school, and

                 (b)      the parent requests that the child receives special education in ethics.

         (3)   A Government school cannot be directed (by the Minister or otherwise) not to make special education in ethics available at
               the school.

When the bill was made public I was staggered when the Minister was reported to say that if the bill is passed
and the ethics course goes into the state schools next year, if the majority of parents of a government school do
not want the course and the principal does not want it, the school will be required to have it if one parent or
more parents of the schoolchildren ask for the ethics course to be taught. The Government would force an ethics
course on a primary school against the wishes of the majority of parents and against the wishes of the school
principal. How undemocratic can that be? It just shows how unethical this bill is and how unethical the Minister
is in seeking to implement it in New South Wales. Shame!

          Why are we debating this bill? We are debating it because the Minister believes—and rightly so—that
the Australian Labor Party will lose the next election and that the Coalition will be in government after
26 March. She is hoping and believing that the Australian Labor Party members of this House, together with the
Green rump, can oppose any education policies of a democratically elected Coalition government. That is what
this is all about. The Government has made an assessment of numbers and believes that the Australian Labor
1 December 2010                                         LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                            28659


Party and the Greens will have the ability to defeat any legislation passed by a democratically elected
Legislative Assembly and introduced into this House. I hope and pray they are completely wrong in that
judgement. It will be in the hands of the people of New South Wales, and I trust that it will not happen.

         Other members have referred to opposition that has been expressed to this secular philosophical ethics
course. It is secular because there is no right or wrong: there is no God, there is no Jesus and there is no Bible in
this so-called ethics course. It is also not truly ethics; the course will be a philosophical discussion. In many
ways the bill should be talking about philosophical ethics. The course will involve a discussion wherein children
will share their ignorance and there will be no direction given by a teacher as to what is right or wrong. Children
are looking for leadership, for guidance and direction, and they will not get it with this ethics course. The
Anglican Archbishop made this point in his criticism. He referred to this as a bad decision made under political
pressure that which will impoverish the education of many New South Wales public school children. He went
on to say:

         Philosophical ethics is not a real alternative to the study of religion and it is unfair to confront parents with the dilemma of having
         them both taught at the same time. The "examined life" starts with a well-rounded education.

He went on to say:

         Our concerns are for the children who now will be denied introduction into the great questions posed by the faith-traditions. For
         example, even though the ethics lesson plans were not publicly released, it is apparent that they did not include clear guidance on
         right and wrong.

Dr Sue Knight, who evaluated the course, said also that it does not provide clear direction about right or wrong.
The president of the New South Wales Council of Churches, Reverend Richard Quadrio, described the
government's plan as speculative and unworkable. He asked the question:

         How are the St James Ethics centre going to recruit the hundreds if not thousands of volunteers needed to teach these classes if
         they are to begin in 2011?

         Is the Government going to fund the St James ethics centre who admitted that their resources were stretched by teaching only two
         grades in 10 schools during the trial?

The bill queries whether it will be practicable or not—whether it will be reasonably practicable. It is almost as
though the Minister is having second thoughts and asking "Can we do this?" This may be the first time a bill has
been passed by the Parliament that does not have an adequate education plan to enable it to work. Members are
passing a bill hoping that it will work. I do not hope it will work; I hope it will be defeated. However, it is clear
that the Government has given no thought to resourcing this ethics course. If the Government takes
responsibility for them and pays volunteers or allows state school teachers to teach the courses, there will be one
fewer period in the regular curriculum—because the Teachers Federation is so strict that it will not allow a
teacher to teach one extra period. The federation will not allow its teachers to take on an extra class;
consequently, primary schools will lose one teacher period. Senior Bishop Peter Ingham of the Catholic Church
also stated:

         Criticism of the failure of lessons to provide clear direction about right or wrong, or to give a moral compass, stand out as key
         issues in Dr Knight's report on the trial.

He refers to Dr Knight's evaluation and states further:
         Additionally, the questions raised by Dr Sue Knight about the sourcing of funding for the course and volunteers to teach it, have
         not been adequately addressed.

It is important that the parents of the State should not be misled. Parents want their children to be taught what is
right and wrong; they want them to receive genuine religious education; they want them to be taught ethics and
what is right and what is wrong, and that usually comes from a religious foundation, such as the Ten
Commandments. But teaching the Ten Commandments is banned from the ethics course. They cannot be taught.
No reference to God, Jesus Christ or any other religious leader can be referred to. The course has to be totally
secular or, to be more accurate, totally atheistic. The parents of the State should not be misled. For those who
care about their children and want them to be taught what is right and what is wrong this ethics course is not the
answer. It is misleading to teach children what is called situation ethics—that nothing is really right and nothing
is really wrong. There are absolute values of right and wrong and those absolute values should be taught to our
children in state schools. Those absolute values come from the Christian Bible, which contains both the Old
Testament and the New Testament. Of course the New Testament ethics supersede those of the Old Testament;
they were presented by Jesus Christ himself when he said that he would replace the harsh requirements in the
28660                                          LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                  1 December 2010


Old Testament with the commandments of the New Testament, which is based on love. The children of our
State should be taught the positive teaching of ethics that come from Jesus Christ, the greatest teacher of ethics
the world has ever known. I oppose the bill.

          Dr JOHN KAYE [3.40 p.m.]: On behalf of the Greens, I enthusiastically support the Education
Amendment (Ethics) Bill 2010. Despite the many comments about this bill, it is designed to ensure there is
some certainty for the future of the ethics alternative to special religious education. The legislation is very clear.
It inserts a new section 33A in the Act. The first subsection of that new section creates the right for special
education in ethics [SEE] to be taught as a secular alternative to special religious education at government
schools. I note that Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile gave a slightly historical definition to "secular". I think any
court nowadays would give the word "secular" its modern interpretation. The interpretation of "secular" that
Henry Parkes enthusiastically applied had to do with a battle 130 years ago between one church and the State
that forced a compromised outcome.

          The second subsection creates a two-part test for whether a child can receive special education ethics.
The first part of the test is that the parents have to object to special religious education and the second part of the
test is that it is reasonably practical for special education ethics to be made available to the child at the
government school. Parents must also request the child receive special education ethics. The bill also prevents a
future government from undermining the autonomy of the school in directing a school to not offer special
education in ethics. The bill will allow developers of ethics courses to proceed with creating courses for next
year and subsequent years by providing them with reasonable surety that the course will not be cancelled after
the first year in view of what increasingly appears will be a change of government. Considerable argument has
been made against the ethics course, some in this Chamber and by some religious leaders. I point out that some
religions have enthusiastically supported the ethics course, notably the Uniting Church. Hindus, Muslims, Jews
and various educational religious organisations have not opposed the creation of secular ethics, so only a
relatively small number of religions have come out in opposition to secular ethics being taught as an alternative
to special religious education.

         We could argue one way or the other but, in the minds of the Greens, it comes down to the rights of
children and whether their parents either reject all religions on offer or subscribe to a religion on offer but
consider that religious education or spiritual education should be conducted in the home or church group, not
taught at school. The way that section 32 of the Education Act, which has its antecedents in Henry Parkes' 1880
Public Instruction Act, has been interpreted and the way government policy has been written until today has
meant those children are denied meaningful activities during that hour. By policy they have to do homework,
watch videos or, in many cases, are set loose in the playground for that one period a week when the religions
have access to what Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile refers to as scripture but most people know as special religious
education. This bill corrects an injustice done to those children in taking away their rights—something that has
pertained since the 1880 Public Instruction Act when comprehensive public education became part of the fabric
of New South Wales. It was at that point that the one period a week, by legislation up to one hour a week, was
introduced into public schools.

         It is worthwhile reflecting on the origin of special religious education because today there is a certain
echo of what happened 130 years ago. At that time the Parkes Government, in this building, tried to set up
public education for all children. The then Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Roger Vaughan, also known as
Brother Bede, vigorously attacked the concept of public education. He spent much of his time between 1875 and
1881 doing everything he could to stop the establishment of public education, including referring to it as the
seed plots of future immorality and infidelity, a slander that goes on to this day against public education. Indeed,
the argument became so heated that Archbishop Vaughan was charged with sedition. In the end, there was a
settlement between Sir Henry Parkes and Archbishop Vaughan and as part of the compromise one hour a week
in public education—

         Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: One hour a day.

         Dr JOHN KAYE: One hour a day, was it? The current Act says up to one hour a week—

         Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: They have changed it.

         Dr JOHN KAYE: I stand corrected—was handed over to various religions. In fact, in those days it
was largely to the Catholics and the Anglicans. Subsequently, through a slow and often difficult process other
religions made their way into the restrictive trade practice club, the self-selecting club of religions that has run
1 December 2010                                LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           28661


what is now up to one hour a week of special religious education. Part of the settlement was an informal
agreement between church and State that there would be no educational options for children not partaking of
one of the religions on offer. That meant children from religions that had not made it into the club—until
relatively recently Jewish and Muslim kids, kids from Buddhist and Hindu backgrounds and kids from the
Baha'i faith—were given no option. Also, a growing number of children from families where values were not
described by particular religions, such as atheists, agnostics or those with self-determined religious beliefs who
like to think for themselves and find their own explanations for what is the past and future of our planet and the
meaning of life, were given no option.

          It remains inappropriate for Parliament to interfere with people's development of their own set of
beliefs and that must be understood in all debates where a separation between church and State must be
maintained. Many children were not allowed to access any gainful activity; they watched videos, read, did
homework, sat in libraries or were turned loose in the playground. In an increasingly crowded curriculum and
increasingly crowded learning spaces, these children were denied access to any instruction. It is that right to
instruction at school that this bill seeks to address and create an alternative.

          I pay tribute to the Parents and Citizens Federation of New South Wales for the work it did in bringing
this issue to the public fore. For many years there has been a lot of disquiet about what happens to these
children. The Parents and Citizens Federation surveyed its members, and I understand that a large number of
parents who were deeply concerned about the matter did not want to send their children to one of the religions
on offer but wanted them to be gainfully employed. It was really the Parents and Citizens Federation, and in
particular its immediate past president, Ms Di Giblin, who started the ball rolling on this. It was then the St
James Ethics Centre, and in particular two of its employees—former employee Colleen MacKinnon, who has
now gone back to Canada but I am sure is closely aware of what is happening here as a result of her efforts, and
current employee Teresa Russell—and Simon Longstaff, the Director of the St James Ethics Centre, who put
effort into creating the alternative and who took to the education Minister the concept of a trial.

         It is to the credit of the education Minister—with whom I do from time to time have the occasional
disagreement—that she listened to representations from a large number of individuals who put it to her that it
would be appropriate to provide at least a trial of a secular ethics alternative. To the Minister's credit, she
listened and she acted. The Minister did so with some courage, because against heated opposition—in many
cases deeply irrational opposition, but nonetheless well organised, vocal and focused opposition—she went
ahead and instituted the trial. It is worth pointing out that a number of religious organisations did not oppose the
trial. The Muslims, the Jews, the Buddhists and the Baha'i did not oppose it. As I said earlier, the Uniting
Church enthusiastically supported the trial.

         Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: It's shameful.

         Dr JOHN KAYE: I acknowledge that Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile saw that as a shameful activity.
I want to come back to the Uniting Church's position.

         Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: They broke ranks with all the other Christian churches.

         Dr JOHN KAYE: That is an interesting point, and we will come back to it in a moment.

[Interruption]

         It is an important interjection, and we will come back to it because it is significant.

         The Hon. Michael Gallacher: How can you come back to something that is unparliamentary?

         Dr JOHN KAYE: By coming back to what you are saying. I will return to the important matter at
hand here. Dr Sue Knight's report has been interpreted as having more fundamental meanings than the Bible
itself. Many people read the report in different ways. It is a fine work of academic analysis. The report is not
without criticism—and that criticism is in many cases well founded—and it will indeed become part of the
material of St James Ethics Centre and other developers of ethics education, reflecting their view of how this
works.

        When it comes down to opposition to the ethics trial, the overriding question is this: What business is it
of a church, or any religious organisation, what children who do not belong to that organisation do? What
28662                                          LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                 1 December 2010


business is it of the Catholics or the Anglicans what an atheist child does with that hour a week? What right does
a religion have to specify what a child from a family that is non-believing does with up to one hour a week in a
school? I defy any opponent of ethics to explain to me how the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church should
have the right to prescribe what a child who does not belong to their religion should or should not do.

          I put that challenge on the table throughout this debate outside this Chamber, and not once has it been
responded to. In effect, what is going on here is that a number of Christian churches—and they are Christian
churches in this case, because non-Christians are sensible enough not to try to intervene—are trying to run a
restrictive trade practice. They are trying to run an exclusive club that has control over up to an hour a week in
every public school, and they will not let anybody else in. They say, "We will not let anybody else in." They
have three key arguments against ethics classes in schools, and each of those arguments is utterly and
completely vacant. The first argument is: "Heavens, you cannot possibly offer ethics as an alternative, because if
you offer ethics as an alternative you are going to force choice." Surely there is already choice between
Catholics and Protestants. Surely there is already choice between Baptist and Uniting Church, and
Congregationalist and continuing Presbyterian church. Surely there is already choice between Baha'i and
Muslim. Surely choice already exists. So it makes no sense to say, "You can't do this because you are going to
force children to make choices." Those children are already making choices.

         Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: The parents are making the choices.

         Dr JOHN KAYE: Whether the parents are making the choices or the children are making the choices,
those choices are already there. The second argument is that this proposal violates policy. We have heard
petition after petition saying it violates policy. Policies change. Of course policies should change. Violating
policy generally means, as in this case, that the policy was wrong. The third argument—which is probably the
strongest of the three arguments—is that ethics is already taught in public schools. Indeed, it is. Many things are
taught as values in public schools—and so they should be. But that does not take away from the situation where
these children are left without anything to do for an hour a week.

          Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile said that ethics classes will, somehow or other, damage multicultural
society because religion is part of our multicultural society. And so it is. I accept that religious diversity adds to
the strength of our multicultural society. That is absolutely true. But so does non-religion and non-belief.
Multiculturalism is not just about the sets of cultures that one happens to like. It is not just about monotheism; it
is about the range of values, and that range of values should be accepted.

         Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile also said that ethics will be forced onto schools where a majority reject
the option. That is an interesting test we should apply. I say to Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: Let us start the
business of applying a test that no religion is allowed into a school unless the majority want it there. Let us say a
group of Catholics want to teach special religious education at a school. Let us start the business by saying: This
group can only get access to the school if the majority of the school community want it there. It would do a lot
of damage to special religious education if we were to apply the same test to special religious education that
these people want to apply to ethics education.

         Before I conclude I want to correct one slander that Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile perpetrated against
the teachers in our public education system. He said that the Teachers Federation is rigorous in enforcing that no
teacher teaches an additional hour or an additional class. That is utter and complete nonsense, and it is a
slanderer of the 60,000 public school teachers who do plenty of voluntary work in schools. I know from my
personal experience about the number of hours of additional chemistry classes, additional physics classes,
additional sports instruction, and additional instruction in mathematics and history, unpaid and unregulated, that
are given by teachers because they are dedicated to their students. I invite Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile, if he
really believes it is true that that does not happen, to start talking to some teachers who provide those classes.

         There are many reasons for supporting this legislation. I have outlined the issue of the rights of
children. I have also outlined the issue of reducing difference. The bill will enhance multiculturalism by
allowing children who do not attend a religious class on offer to not feel isolated or left out simply because they
are special and therefore they are excluded. The bill will also ensure materials are provided for all classes. The
Greens support this legislation because it is an important step forward for the rights of children and for the
educational outcome for children who do not attend a religious class on offer. The Greens enthusiastically
support the bill.
1 December 2010                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                             28663


          The Hon. IAN COHEN [3.59 p.m.]: I support the position put effectively by Dr John Kaye.
I congratulate Dr John Kaye on his depth of knowledge of educational processes in this State. He spoke with a
significant degree of expertise on this matter, and certainly I feel that I can strongly support his position. I felt
the need to put my name to a few brief comments about the Education Amendment (Ethics) Bill 2010.
I recognise that the bill will formally address the desire of parents who want their children to receive special
education in ethics as a secular alternative to special religious education. Currently parents who do not want
their children to receive special religious education are given no alternative other than to have their child sit out
the religious education class either in a separate classroom, library or playground. I fail to comprehend the
fairness of mind that people can deny that type of development in our public education system.

          Whilst I do not agree with many of the major aspects of religion taught in our society, I still believe in
the right of people to practise it. Religious education is not being impacted upon. There will be no loss of
religious education. It is not an either/or for the majority of people. In most instances parents choose to give
their children an educational experience of what they believe in. I believe religion is an unreality that dresses up
in the robes of unsustainable belief by the gullible, yet I do not deny that many people in our society want to
give their children religious education. That is absolutely fine, but what about the alternative? What about the
significant number of people who choose to take another path and give what they believe is responsible
guidance to their children?

          This bill is short but significant. The insertion of new section 33A into the Education Act 1990 will
allow parents to choose whether or not their child will receive special ethics education in place of religious
education, as it will be incumbent upon schools to provide ethics classes if it is reasonably practicable to do so.
The Minister will not be able to direct schools not to provide those classes. These changes will only apply to
government-run schools. We still hear much outcry from a very narrow section of the establishment against this
fair move by this Government. I particularly applaud the Minister for Education and Training for the part she
has played in this. The amendment to the Act is necessary because of the hysterical reaction of some politicians
whenever the issue of ethics classes is raised. The intention is not to replace religious studies in public schools
but to provide parents with an appropriate alternative, with protection from any further politicisation of an issue
that is a matter of personal choice—and personal choice should prevail.

          Earlier in the debate Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile decried that ethics cut across what is right or wrong.
To my mind it is training for young people. It will make them think about all these issues and give them the
ability to draw their own conclusions about what is right or wrong under the guidance of the people they
respect—their parents and teachers. Perhaps I decided to briefly speak to this bill because of my own experience
in being one of approximately three Jewish kids who attended a public school in the western suburbs of Sydney.
Whilst at that school I inadvertently from time to time found myself in classes where the teacher, with good
intent, started to give religious education and one of the songs we had to sing was Born is the King of Israel.
I was probably aged about 6 years and by then I had received some nominal Jewish education. I can remember
thinking to myself: Who is born?

         The Hon. Melinda Pavey: The King of Israel!

          The Hon. IAN COHEN: Exactly, and I experienced a level of unreality. Because of my different
cultural upbringing, at that very young age it created such irrelevance to me that I began to question so many
things. I would suggest that is a function of ethics and that is the way society should be going. I resent the fact
that in this modern pluralist society when the nonreligious side of society seeks to enable choice, members of
the Christian churches seek to withhold that choice. I strongly support the Government's position.

          Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [4.05 p.m.]: In our society the freedom of religion is an important issue,
but it is part of a two-sided package. Not only do we have a freedom of religion but we also have a freedom
from religion. Many believe that the freedom from religion is as fundamental in our society as the freedom of
religion. I have watched my oldest daughter experience her first year at school. She attends a terrific public
school in this State. My daughter's experience is not unique. Her experience is no doubt mirrored across the
State by thousands of other children. As a general rule my daughter is receiving a terrific public education and is
being taught by terrific hardworking, dedicated teachers in an A-grade facility, which she can walk to from
home. But once a week she is sat down in the library—in a period when she should be doing lessons—to watch
a DVD. She receives no instruction. She just watches a DVD while a minority of students at that school receive
special religious education.
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          It is nonsensical that freedom from religion, an important right, is restricted. My daughter and many
other kids across New South Wales who attend public schools are compelled to do nothing at all for an hour per
week so that others can exercise their right to religion. The right to religion is an important right but that right
should not be imposed on others who choose not to take part in religion. This bill gives some substance to the
right to be free from religion, as my family and many other families across the State choose. I strongly support
the bill.

          Reverend the Hon. Dr GORDON MOYES [4.07 p.m.]: From the outset I state as the Parliamentary
Leader of the Family First Party that I do not support the Education Amendment (Ethics) Bill 2010. However,
I do support a lot of the intentions of the bill that have been mentioned by previous speakers. As one who
studied ethics at university and for the best part of 25 years taught ethics in a tertiary seminary, particularly
ethics involved in ministry, which regrettably has not always been displayed as it ought, I am moved towards
better teaching of ethics in all of our educational situations. That applies to politicians as well, who have been
known for many things except ethics.

         The object of the bill is to amend the Education Act 1990 to allow special education in ethics as a
secular alternative to special religious education in government schools. In Australia school education is
compulsory between certain agents, as specified by State and Territory legislation. Government schools educate
approximately 65 per cent of Australian students, with approximately 34 per cent in Catholic and independent
schools. Catholic and independent schools are not concerned with this legislation as they have a right to teach
religion as they desire, and a small proportion of students, particularly in rural areas, are legally home schooled.

         Regardless of whether a school is part of a government, Catholic or independent system, all schools are
required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks of their State or Territory. However, the curriculum
framework provides for some flexibility in the syllabus so that subjects such as religious education can be
taught. Secular religious education is the teaching of a particular religion and its varied aspects: beliefs,
doctrines, faith, customs, rights and personal role. In Western and secular culture religious education implies a
form of education that largely separates itself from academia and, generally speaking, regards religious belief as
a fundamental tenet and operational modality, as well as the prerequisite condition of attendance.

          Ethics is the study of our behaviour, the development of personal morality, the basis for our judgement
of right or wrong and our understanding of justice and virtue in the way we live. Ethics is fundamental to every
major religion and every sacred scripture. These ethics are based largely upon Jewish and Christian scriptures.
Most of what we regard as basic ethics goes back to Abrahamic faith, which includes Muslim, Jewish and
Christian religions. Of course, basic morality, which originated with God, is expressed in most systems of law.
Australian law includes the principles of the Ten Commandments: you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you
shall not bear false witness against your neighbour; and so on. The Government proposes teaching children right
from wrong, how to behave and justice and virtue, without any reference to Judaic, Muslim or Christian ethics.
What is the basis for good behaviour if children are not taught any of the given norms found in scripture? Which
of the Ten Commandments do parents not want their children to follow? Which of the Ten Commandments do
parents not want taught in ethics classes? This is not a trial based on ethical standards; it is a secular humanist
attempt to replace the teaching of Christian, Jewish and Muslim values.

         Last night at the Hanukkah celebration and this morning at a meeting with Muslim leaders both groups
told me they support my opposition to this bill. Despite Dr John Kaye's claims, they recognise that it impinges
upon them and their freedom to teach. I refer to a response to the ethics trial by the Inter-Church Commission on
Religious Education in Schools [ICCOREIS]. For the benefit of Dr Kaye, who does not understand, the
churches I speak on behalf of include the Anglican Church of Australia, the Diocese of the Catholic Church of
Sydney, the Uniting Church in Australia—which is a member of the ICCOREIS, despite Dr Kaye's comments—
the Baptist Churches of New South Wales, the Presbyterian Church of Australia, the Churches of Christ in New
South Wales, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, the Lutheran Church in Australia, the Salvation
Army, the Fellowship of Congregational Churches, the Assemblies of God, the Christian Brethren Assemblies,
the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand.
I speak on their behalf in relation to the review by Dr Sue Knight. They jointly state:
         The provision of Special Religious Education [SRE] in the state of NSW represents the largest direct involvement of the
         community in government schools and includes ethnic groups such as the Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist
         faith. In Christian SRE alone it is estimated that there are around 10,000 SRE teachers across the state in both primary and
         secondary schools. When the churches and cultural communities from which they come are taken into account, the support for
         SRE is a very significant phenomenon in this state's non-discriminatory educational policy. SRE is widely recognised as
         educationally advantageous in its own right. It employs a variety of methodologies and encourages the development of a broad
         range of skills. It also provides students in government schools with an opportunity to meet and be exposed to people from their
1 December 2010                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                            28665


         community who volunteered to teach them. In many schools there is a high degree of cooperation between Christian providers
         that uniquely demonstrates a unity of belief and passionate concern for the welfare of the students at the school. It can be argued
         that SRE in NSW makes a distinctive contribution to the goals of schooling in Australia and the core values of NSW
         Public Schools.

Mr Malcolm Knox in the Sydney Morning Herald defended special religious education and made a case for the
default position of having a part-Christian education so that children can at least have a sense of their cultural
heritage. His argument was based partly on the morality the church teaches and partly so that children would be
in a position to make their own decision about their spirituality. They are good reasons for a presumption in
favour of a Christian education. In an appeal to atheists, Mr Knox made a compelling argument in relation to
tolerance. He said in relation to Christian teaching:

         Without it, they can never be tolerant, only indifferent.


Mr Knox made a distinction between "tolerant" and "indifferent". He continued:

         As Hitchens reminds us, churches have been bastions of religious exclusivity and intolerance. But the great crimes of the 20th
         century were alliances of the fundamentalist few and the indifferent many. To profess a lack of interest in religion is not to
         tolerate it, or to live and let live. It is to allow religious debate to fall into the hands of the forcefully intolerant. This is how
         persecution takes place in liberal societies: when the majority's indifference cloaks itself as ''tolerance''. They're not the
         same thing.


Do we want to encourage our children to become intolerant of religions? Despite these concerns, the
Government, with the help of the St James Ethics Centre, proposes the rollout of a half-baked education
program. Rather than teaching children Christian, Jewish or Muslim ethics which surround the Ten
Commandments and other principles that have been the fundamental basis of our country's law for centuries, the
Government is proposing questions on ethics within schools. For example: Your grandmother knits you a
jumper, which you do not like. Is it okay to say you like it to protect her feelings? Someone broke a window in
the classroom and everyone is made to clean up the schoolyard. Is that fair? Sally has an older brother and he is
allowed to stay up later. Is that fair? Even taking into account the age of students in years 5 and 6 to whom these
questions were addressed, they are very simplistic questions.

          The final report on the New South Wales ethics course trial referred to the limitations of ethics classes.
It commented that the course restricted the depth of students' thinking, therefore restricting the degree to which
the course aims can be achieved. It said that ethical decision-making means the ability to state an ethical
position and then put forward a justification, but the fact that an individual has offered a justification claim does
not mean that the justification is sound. The report stated that most of the time justifications for a particular
decision were skipped over in classes due to time constraints. Thirty minutes was allocated to discuss and assess
life's ethical dilemmas, leaving little time to encourage students to expand on their ideas or to ask follow-up
questions. It referred to the view that there are no right or wrong answers. That is a clearly inadequate position.
The report stated that very little substantive questioning was observed and that volunteer questioning should be
aimed at procedural questioning as well as substantive follow-up questions in order to encourage students to
consider important factors they had not previously thought about.

         The Government is willing to treat our children as guinea pigs in social engineering whilst it plays
around with and tweaks a weak curriculum as opposed to a special religious education curriculum that has been
taught in public schools for decades. I say that not as a special religious education is better than ethics argument
but as an argument that has a lot of worth. Special religious education has been around for decades and has been
successful in its curriculum. Ethics has not. At the very least the Government should put the brakes on so that it
might adequately engage in more research aimed at developing and improving its ethics curriculum before
outlaying a flawed course to our children. I would like to ask some of these volunteer ethics teachers some basic
questions to determine what kind of ethics they have been teaching. I think I would find a variety of answers. In
its response to the ethics trial report the Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education, on behalf of all the
other denominations that I mentioned previously, states:

         As experienced providers of SRE across the state for around 80% of students, we consider there are all sorts of organisational
         problems in delivering the proposed ethics based course. For instance, the current course only runs for 10 weeks. What happens
         in the other 25+ weeks of the school year when ethics is not running? What will non-SRE students do during that time, which
         amounts to another three terms?
28666                                                  LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                            1 December 2010


In place of the recommendations of the final report and in light of the problems that it has indicated, the Inter-
Church Commission on Religious Education asks the Minister and the Department of Education and Training to
do the following:

         1.   Defer the introduction of an ethics-based complement to SRE in 2011 because there is simply no hard evidence that the
              current course is educationally justifiable.

         2.   Begin a process of thoroughgoing consultation with SRE providers about the wider issues that surround the whole idea of
              an ethics-based complement to SRE.

         3.   Commit to exploring best practice models in the organisation and management of both non-SRE and SRE.

The Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education continues:

         In her overview, Dr Knight gives no attention to ethics as the proposed complement to an existing SRE program with a profound
         ethical dimension. Her report could be read as if SRE was an insignificant phenomenon, at best limited to a few schools and that
         the arguments for an ethics based complement to SRE are unchallengeable. The half page she gives to the 'Criticism from SRE
         Providers' considers only issues of the delivery of the ethics course and fails completely to engage with the substantive issues
         raised in submissions by faith providers.

         As we documented in our submission, pragmatism by its very nature is radically opposed to all faiths because they are
         representative of a higher authority. The highest authority in pragmatism is the democratic decision of the children in the
         classroom who independently arrive at what works for them.

That is an ethical approach but it is an ethical approach that is denied by a large number of ethicists around the
world. The Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education continues:

         To say that this approach is a 'complement' to SRE, with its basis in the faith and the metanarratives, which undergird the ethics
         of the various groups, is at best based on a profound misunderstanding or incredibly naïve. Dr Knight advocates her own
         metanarrative when she argues for the power of the Platonic philosophic stream that undergirds some of Western secular thought.
         It is dismissive for her to say that two and a half thousand years of development justifies it, when the faiths taught in SRE have a
         longer history and have reached substantially different conclusions.

         Our conclusion is that Dr Knight does not overview the ethics course in its context, which includes SRE, and does not distinguish
         her presuppositions about the validity of SRE from implicit advocacy for the course.

That is a very legitimate argument that supports our call for the delaying of this bill. I believe this is a last-
minute last-ditch effort by the Government to push through legislation in its dying days which is designed to
limit future democratically elected governments.

          The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.24 p.m.], in reply: I thank all members who
have spoken on this debate on the Education Amendment (Ethics) Bill 2010. This debate arouses passionate
views and reflects strongly held opinions. Nevertheless, many of today's contributions are not relevant to the key
issue we are debating—however strongly those opinions may be held. The central issue being debated is
whether parents have the right to choose whether their children be engaged in the study of special education in
ethics at the same time as other children are being taught special religious education. That is the key element of
this debate.

         Those who are opposing this amendment to the Education Act are arguing that parents should not have
the right to choose what they believe is best for their children. In essence, they are saying, "We know what is
best for your children". Those of us on this side of the House are not telling parents what they should or should
not be allowed to do. We recognise that this is clearly a matter of parental choice. No-one should be compelled
to attend or prevented from attending special religious education, nor should a meaningful option be denied to
parents. No-one will be forced to do ethics. That again is a matter of parental choice. Before I describe and
explain this bill I will respond to some of the claims made by those who have spoken against it.

         Ethics is an option for those parents who actively opt out of special religious education. Ethics is not
competing with special religious education; if anything, it is an alternative to non-scripture. It will be delivered,
at no cost to the Department of Education and Training, by volunteers trained by the St James Ethics Centre. It
will be delivered in the same way as special religious education. Teachers will not be allowed to deliver ethics at
the school in which they teach.

        All of the recommendations of the ethics evaluation report by Sue Knight have been accepted, with the
exception of recommendation 6, which recommends that faith groups provide a description of their teachings.
That will be optional. The evaluation report provides valuable advice in relation to the trial. It identifies
1 December 2010                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                             28667


elements that were successful and aspects that could have been done better. That was why the trial occurred.
Isolating issues raised in the evaluation report to attack the ethics proposal simply demonstrates that the trial and
the evaluation did exactly what was intended. Pilots and trials are opportunities to identify issues and improve
delivery, which is exactly what we have done. There was no decision to introduce special education in ethics
prior to the evaluation being received and its recommendations considered.

         I have been advised that there are currently no other providers of ethics in New South Wales. The St
James Ethics Centre will be delivering the ethics course. The course will be scrutinised and vetted by the
education department and the Board of Studies. They will bring the same level of professionalism that is usual
for these organisations to any material that is taught in our schools. The ethics course will not be values neutral;
it will explore issues and the reasons behind and consequences of decision-making. This was a key
recommendation of the evaluation report and one which the Government strongly agrees with.

          Ethics has a 2,500-year-old history. It is not a recent area of inquiry, nor is it frivolous or dangerous.
The Department of Education and Training special religious education policy will be changed to reflect this
change to the Act and to make sure that the special religious education policy better accommodates both
providers of special religious education and parents who have decided that their children will not attend special
religious education. While thousands of emails and letters have been sent and a petition signed over the period
of the ethics trial, the overwhelming majority of responses to the evaluation report were in support of the
ethics trial.

         School communities volunteered to be part of the trial and trial schools were across Sydney and rural
New South Wales. The parents and schools were incredibly supportive of the process. Parents at those schools
discussed the issue and the parents of the children in the trial made an active choice on behalf of their children.
It was their choice for their children, and we respect that enough to legislate that same choice for all New South
Wales public school parents. The legislation adds a new section 33A to the Education Act that provides an
additional choice for parents who have already made the choice that their children not attend special
religious education.

         Section 33A is in three parts. Section 33A (1) allows special education in ethics as a secular alternative
to special religious education. Section 33A (2) states that if the parent of a child objects to special religious
education they are entitled to request special education in ethics. Section 33A (2) (a) and (b) qualify this
entitlement. Special education in ethics can be made available in a government school, where reasonably
practicable, and where a parent has requested that their child receive special education in ethics.

          "Reasonably practicable" refers to the capacity of the school to deliver the course with sufficient
appropriately trained volunteers. Proposed new section 33A (3) prevents a government school from being
directed by the Minister not to make special education in ethics available and therefore from overruling the
choices of parents who have exercised their rights under the new section. This amendment is necessary because
the Opposition has made it necessary. What would be a reasonable option for parents has been ruled out by the
Opposition with insufficient reason and proposed new section 33A (3) is intended to prevent that from
happening. This legislation is about parental choice. It does not undermine the valued place that special religious
education has in New South Wales public schools; it simply gives another group of parents a legitimate option
for their children. I thank all members for their contributions to this debate. I also recognise the hard work of the
parents who got the trial up and running and who have campaigned about this issue for many years. I am pleased
to have introduced this legislation and I commend it to the House.

         Question—That this bill be now read a second time—put.

         The House divided.

                                                     Ayes, 20

                   Mr Catanzariti                  Dr Kaye                        Ms Sharpe
                   Mr Cohen                        Mr Kelly                       Mr Shoebridge
                   Ms Cotsis                       Mr Moselmane                   Mr Veitch
                   Ms Faehrmann                    Mr Obeid                       Ms Westwood
                   Mr Foley                        Mr Robertson                   Tellers,
                   Ms Griffin                      Ms Robertson                   Ms Voltz
                   Mr Hatzistergos                 Mr Roozendaal                  Mr West
28668                                                   LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                     1 December 2010


                                                                 Noes, 15

                       Mr Ajaka                               Mr Gay                               Mr Pearce
                       Mr Clarke                              Mr Lynn
                       Ms Cusack                              Mr Mason-Cox
                       Ms Ficarra                             Reverend Dr Moyes                    Tellers,
                       Mr Gallacher                           Reverend Nile                        Mr Colless
                       Miss Gardiner                          Mrs Pavey                            Mr Harwin

                                                                   Pairs

                                          Mr Donnelly                            Mr Khan
                                          Mr Primrose                            Ms Parker

         Question resolved in the affirmative.

         Motion agreed to.

         Bill read a second time.

                                                             In Committee

      Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [4.42 p.m.]: By leave, I move Christian Democratic Party
amendments 1 to 3 on sheet C2010-165, in globo:

         No. 1     Page 2, clause 1, line 3. Insert "Philosophical" before "Ethics".

         No. 2     Page 2, clause 3, lines 9–24. Insert "philosophical" before "ethics" wherever occurring.

         No. 3     Page 1, Long title. Insert "philosophical" before "ethics".

The basis for my amendments is recommendation No. 5 in the report of Dr Sue Knight, which has been strongly
endorsed by the Government and the Greens. Dr Knight stated:

         … in the event of a wider roll-out of an ethics-based complement to Special Religious Education:

         a.      the ethics-based complement to scripture could be described as a "course in Philosophical Ethics", or equivalently, a
                 "Moral Philosophy-based course, or given some such name in order to make clear the boundaries of its content;

That is very reasonable. Dr Knight, who members have acknowledged wrote a detailed and thorough report on
the trial of the 10 primary schools, referred to a wider rollout—and that is exactly what this bill is providing—of
ethics classes in all primary schools initially, and I assume ultimately in all State public schools. Whether that
occurs in 2011 will depend on available resources, but that is essentially what the bill provides. It is a sensible
recommendation by Dr Sue Knight and I commend my amendments to the Committee.

         The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.44 p.m.]: The Government does not support
these amendments. The Government carefully considered Dr Knight's report, and the bill reflects how the
Government will implement its provisions. The amendments of Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile will narrow the
intention of the ethics classes and we are not prepared to support them.

          Dr JOHN KAYE [4.45 p.m.]: The Greens do not support the amendments put forward by the Christian
Democratic Party. By putting the adjective "philosophical" before the noun "ethics", one narrows what can be
taught in these classes, and it would be open to anyone who was hostile to the concept of providing an
alternative to special religious education to challenge any course by saying that it does not conform to the
normal standards of philosophy. For example, it does not refer back to Plato or to Descartes or to virtues ethics
or rights ethics. These amendments would create opportunities for those who are opponents of the project to
challenge it in ways that would be of nuisance value only. I wish to correct one thing Reverend the Hon. Fred
Nile said. We commended the report by Dr Knight and said that it was a fine piece of academic work, but that
does not mean that we needed to adopt every recommendation in it, nor did we do so. The Knight report is
informative but I do not think that it is so persuasive that we ought to implement every single word in it.
1 December 2010                                           LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                 28669


         Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [446 p.m.]: I have never in my life heard the argument put that the
word "philosophy" is restrictive. That is amazing. It does not make sense. I accept that the member believes
what he said, but I suggest it would be impossible to narrow anything by adding to it the "philosophy", which
has the widest meaning of any word in the English language.

         Dr JOHN KAYE [4.46 p.m.]: To be absolutely accurate, I am not objecting to the word "philosophy".
The word used was "philosophical" which is an adjective, and by placing an adjective before a noun, one
reduces the classes of things that are described by that noun.

        Question—That Christian Democratic Party amendments Nos 1 to 3 [C2010-165] be agreed to—
put.

        The Committee divided.

                                                               Ayes, 15

                      Mr Ajaka                               Mr Gay                            Mr Pearce
                      Mr Clarke                              Mr Lynn
                      Ms Cusack                              Mr Mason-Cox
                      Ms Ficarra                             Reverend Dr Moyes                 Tellers,
                      Mr Gallacher                           Reverend Nile                     Mr Colless
                      Miss Gardiner                          Mrs Pavey                         Mr Harwin

                                                               Noes, 20

                      Mr Catanzariti                         Dr Kaye                           Mr Shoebridge
                      Mr Cohen                               Mr Kelly                          Mr Veitch
                      Ms Cotsis                              Mr Obeid                          Mr West
                      Ms Faehrmann                           Mr Robertson                      Ms Westwood
                      Ms Fazio                               Ms Robertson                      Tellers,
                      Mr Foley                               Mr Roozendaal                     Mr Moselmane
                      Mr Hatzistergos                        Ms Sharpe                         Ms Voltz

                                                                 Pairs

                                        Mr Khan                             Mr Donnelly
                                        Ms Parker                           Mr Primrose

        Question resolved in the negative.

        Christian Democratic Party amendments Nos 1 to 3 negatived.

        Clause 1 agreed to.

        Clause 2 agreed to.

        Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [4.57 p.m.]: I move Christian Democrat amendment No. 1 on
sheet C2010-166:
        No. 1   Page 2, clause 3. Insert after line 24:

                (4)      This section ceases to have effect 6 months after the commencement of this section unless, before the end of
                         that period:

                         (a)      an independent review of special education in ethics at government schools is conducted and a report
                                  on the outcome of the review is tabled by the Minister in each House of Parliament, and

                         (b)      both Houses of Parliament have, by resolution, approved the continuation of this section.

This amendment is the result of the recommendations of Dr Sue Knight in her review of ethics classes trialled in
10 primary schools. Recommendation 5(b) states:
28670                                                 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           1 December 2010


        (b)      a group of independent experts be established at the discretion of the Minister, to oversee

                 i.       the formulation of criteria to ensure that any ethics course conducted during Special Religious Education time
                          has as its content the subject matter of Ethics as a branch of Philosophy, and against which applications for the
                          provision of such courses could be considered;

                 ii.      the assessment of such applications, and subsequent recommendation to the Minister;

        (c)      that a consultative committee be established to allow regular meetings between ethics providers, the DET and other
                 stakeholders to discuss issues of common concern.

I have summarised Dr Knight's recommendation in my amendment. It will give the Minister in the new
government next year the flexibility to conduct an independent review of special education ethics in government
schools and to produce a report after six months that will be tabled in both Houses of the Parliament. By
resolution, both Houses would then have the opportunity to approve the continuation of ethics in public schools.
That is a fair and democratic provision. I am sure the Labor Party would fully support giving both Houses of the
Parliament the power to make decisions about the future of ethics courses. I commend the amendment to all
members.

        The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.59 p.m.]: The Government does not support
the amendment. The effect of the amendment is to basically gut the legislation and its intent.

         Dr JOHN KAYE [4.59 p.m.]: For the reasons outlined by the Parliamentary Secretary the Greens also
do not support the amendment.

           Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [4.59 p.m.]: I object to the Hon. Penny Sharpe's use of the term "gut"
the legislation. The amendment allows an independent review of special education. I do not regard that as
gutting the legislation. Is the Government frightened of a review? Is it frightened of both Houses of Parliament
having the opportunity to make some decision on this course? I do not see the amendment as gutting anything;
rather, it allows the democratic processes to work.

         The Hon. PENNY SHARPE (Parliamentary Secretary) [5.00 p.m.]: The Government is not afraid of
anything. The Government is seeking to ensure parental choice and the option for parents to have special ethics
classes for their children.

        Question—That Christian Democratic Party amendment No. 1 [C2010-166] be agreed to—put
and resolved in the negative.

        Christian Democratic Party amendment No. 1 negatived.

        Clause 3 agreed to.

        Title agreed to.

        Bill reported from Committee without amendment.

                                                       Adoption of Report

        Motion by the Hon. Penny Sharpe agreed to:

        That the report be adopted.

        Report adopted.

                                                          Third Reading

        Motion by the Hon. Penny Sharpe agreed to:
        That this bill be now read a third time.

        Bill read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
1 December 2010                                       LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                           28671


                     CRIMES (SERIOUS SEX OFFENDERS) AMENDMENT BILL 2010

        Message received from the Legislative Assembly returning the bill without amendment.

                                       RURAL FIRES AMENDMENT BILL 2010

                                                         Second Reading

         The Hon. MICHAEL VEITCH (Parliamentary Secretary) [5.02 p.m.], on behalf of the Hon. Tony
Kelly: I move:

        That this bill be no read a second time.

The Keneally Government is committed to ensuring that the people of New South Wales are protected from the
risks of bushfires. The 2009 Victorian bushfires were a terrible tragedy, and many will never fully recover from
the devastating loss of life and damage to communities that the fires caused. The recommendations of the 2009
Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission underlined the importance of introducing measures that would help
avoid a disaster of similar proportions occurring again. The bill proposes amendments to the Rural Fires Act
1997, the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 and the Rural Fires Regulation 2008 that seek to
address three important themes that were raised in the findings of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. If
introduced, the bill will vest the Rural Fire Service with the responsibility to issue public warnings about
bushfires, broaden the level of representation on the New South Wales Bush Fire Coordinating Committee, and
grant statutory recognition to neighbourhood safer places. I seek leave to incorporate the remainder of the
second reading speech in Hansard.

        Leave granted.
        The RFS Commissioner regularly issues public warnings where a community or communities are at risk from bushfires.

        The NSW RFS' delivery of public warnings flows from the NSW State Disaster Plan. The State Disaster Plan provides that the
        responsibility to issue warnings to the public in times of emergency rests with the lead agency: In the case of major bushfires, the
        lead agency is the RFS.

        Public warnings provide accurate and timely information, and are broadly disseminated by the RFS. Their objective is to help
        people to make informed decisions about the steps they need to take where they are faced with the threat of a bush fire.

        The amendments proposed in this bill will formalise and enhance this existing practice, so that the commissioner, or his delegate,
        will ensure that public warnings are issued regularly and when necessary.

        The changes proposed in the bill currently before the House will also address the first recommendation of the royal commission's
        final report, which raised the need to increase the role of public warnings in advising the community about bushfires.

        I understand that Victorian legislation has since been amended to vest the Chief Officer of the Country Fire Authority with
        responsibility for issuing appropriate warnings, and this bill proposes equivalent amendments to New South Wales' legislation.

        The next key change that the bill seeks to introduce is to broaden the membership of the NSW Bush Fire Coordinating
        Committee from 13 to 14 members. The additional member will be another representative from the Department of Industry and
        Investment, representing the Energy Sector, Minerals and Energy Division.

        The Bush Fire Coordinating Committee provides a forum for representatives from a range of government and non-government
        organisations with an interest in the prevention, mitigation and suppression of bushfires.

        While the Department of Industry and Investment is already represented on the committee by a member of its Forests NSW
        division, the additional member proposed by this bill will take into account its responsibility for the oversight of energy
        management and operation in New South Wales.

        Representation on the Bush Fire Coordinating Committee from the Energy Sector, Minerals and Energy Division of the
        Department of Industry and Investment will ensure that potential bushfire risks and issues arising from electricity infrastructure
        and its maintenance are considered at a State level.

        The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission identified faulty power lines as one of the causal factors in a number of the Black
        Saturday fires.

        Extending the membership of the NSW Bush Fire Coordinating Committee in the manner proposed addresses the
        recommendations of the commission concerning measures to mitigate the risk of fire ignitions from electrical infrastructure.

        For some time the RFS has had a practice of designating "neighbourhood safer places".
28672                                                 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           1 December 2010


        A neighbourhood safer place is an identified building or open space which can provide a higher level of protection from the
        immediate life-threatening effects of a bushfire. These places are meant to be used by people during a bushfire as a contingency
        plan, in the event of their bushfire survival plan having failed or being impossible to put into action. The use of a neighbourhood
        safer place as a refuge from bushfire still involves some risk, which is why they are meant as places of last resort in times of
        emergency only.

        The findings and recommendations of the Victorian Royal Bushfires Commission proposed that the arrangements for and the role
        of neighbourhood safer places be formalised and clarified.

        The bill currently before the House introduces amendments to give statutory recognition of neighbourhood safer places. The bill
        assigns the Rural Fire Service with the responsibility to:

                •        identify and designate neighbourhood safer places throughout the State, on public and private lands;

                •        ensure every effort is made to consult and reach agreement with the owner or occupier of an area identified as a
                         potential neighbourhood safer place prior to designation. In the case of land that is not privately owned,
                         designation may be made even if consent is not provided—ensuring that the safety of the community is not
                         compromised in these cases.

        The bill also provides that the RFS must:

                •        undertake an annual review of designated neighbourhood safer places;

                •        decommission designated neighbourhood safer places that are no longer suitable; and

                •        ensure that neighbourhood safer places are taken into consideration in bushfire risk management plans.

        The proposed amendments, while seeking in most respects to formalise existing arrangements, also introduce measures that will
        change current practice in several ways.

        It may be noted that while the introduction of this bill will result in the RFS assuming responsibility to identify and approve
        neighbourhood safer places, this task has historically been undertaken by local emergency management committees.

        The decision, however, to make local emergency management committees responsible for identifying and approving
        neighbourhood safer places was an interim measure only, and was made in the interests of ensuring that the scheme was
        implemented in a timely manner.

        It is appropriate that the RFS, as the lead agency for bush fire management, now formally assume these responsibilities.

        To reinforce the bushfire safety of at-risk communities, the Keneally Government this month [November 14] announced further
        funding of $106.9 million for bushfire protection, which includes $3.4 million a year for the neighbourhood safer places program.

        This extra funding will provide the RFS with the additional resources required to further identify, construct, maintain and ensure
        signage of new and existing neighbourhood safer places.

        The amendments proposed in this bill will clarify some of the RFS' existing roles and responsibilities.

        The bill, if introduced, will also enhance those functions, to reflect some of the key recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires
        Royal Commission, with the ultimate aim of benefiting the people of New South Wales by reducing the risk of fire, providing
        prompt warnings and enhancing community protection from major bushfires.

        The $106.9 million in funding for bushfire protection is to be used for a package of measures, including increased rapid aerial
        attack resources, upgrades to fire-fighter pagers and radios, and includes $84 million earmarked for the purpose of hazard
        reduction works.

        This bill is, then, only one of a range of measures that this Government is introducing to improve bushfire management and
        mitigation in New South Wales.

        Ultimately this bill, in conjunction with the raft of enhanced and additional bush fire management and mitigation strategies being
        introduced by this Government, will benefit the people of New South Wales.

        Its introduction will not only help to reduce the risk of fire, but will also ensure that communities are promptly warned and are
        provided with greater protection during major bushfire emergencies.

        I commend the bill to the House.

         The Hon. MELINDA PAVEY [5.03 p.m.]: As shadow Minister for Emergency Services I lead for the
New South Wales Liberals and Nationals on the Rural Fires Amendment Bill 2010 and indicate at the outset that
we will not oppose the bill. I have spoken on many occasions in this place about the need for hazard reduction in
New South Wales and about our fire preparedness. I have spoken about the Keneally Labor Government's
dangerously inept record on bushfire risk mitigation and its tardy response to the final report of the Victorian
Bushfires Royal Commission. Although it is tempting to put this bill into that broader context, due to the sheer
volume of legislation before the House this week I will restrict my comments to the scope of the bill alone.
1 December 2010                                       LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                           28673


         The tragic events leading to this bill are widely known. On Saturday 7 February 2009 Victoria suffered
the worst bushfires in its history. A total of 173 people died, many more were injured, and billions of dollars of
damage was done. On 1 July 2010, almost 6 months ago, the final report of the Victorian Bushfires Royal
Commission was tabled. The report made 67 recommendations. The majority of these recommendations related
specifically to Victorian emergency management arrangements. However, the commission recommended
significant increases in the amount of hazard reduction carried out. On 14 November 2010 the New South Wales
Government announced its response to the royal commission's recommendations. This included additional
spending on hazard reduction. As I alluded to earlier, last week in this place I spoke about many of the
inadequacies of the Government's response.

          The bill is a further response to the royal commission's recommendations, principally in relation to
neighbourhood safer places. A neighbourhood safer place is a building or open space to be used as a place of
last resort during a bushfire, and the bill assigns the responsibility of identifying and managing neighbourhood
safer places to the Rural Fire Service. While this move is supported, I ask the Government to ensure that local
brigades are fully engaged in the process of identifying these locations. I acknowledge that in many cases they
are so engaged. One of a number of my correspondents on this bill, a Rural Fire Service volunteer, notes that
according to the Rural Fire Service website neighbourhood safer places do not cater for pets, nor will they
provide meals or amenity, or cater for special needs. My correspondent goes on to ask:

         Are people really going to leave their home, at the last minute, (because it's a place of "last resort") drive through bush, which
         may be alight by then, just to go to a place which may be only slightly safer than where they are and run the risk of being trapped
         in the car? I don't think so—I certainly wouldn't.

Of course, it has to be understood that neighbourhood safer places are places of last resort, and that it is
unfeasible to provide for all needs and amenities. However, it is worth considering for a moment the psychology
of people in the situation described by my correspondent.

         How can we ensure that neighbourhood safer places are part of people's bushfire survival plans? I note
that the Victorian Liberals and Nationals, who were successful in last weekend's election, made a commitment
to fund a community fire drill program to ensure fire-prone communities can practise and improve emergency
bushfire safety plans. In a media release dated 13 October this year the then shadow Minister and now Deputy
Premier, Peter Ryan, said the Coalition would spend $20,000 on a community fire drill pilot program in two
high-fire risk communities in 2011 to test simulated responses to selected fire scenarios. The media release
went on:

         "In line with the Commission's vision, the Coalition will ensure bushfire-prone communities can best respond to different fire
         scenarios, understand evacuation options, and identify potential places of shelter," Mr Ryan said.

This is an idea that has merit, and I commend it to the New South Wales Government. The bill makes provisions
for the New South Wales Bushfire Coordinating Committee to include additional expertise in relation to
electricity infrastructure and maintenance, and that is a common-sense and necessary amendment. It also
formalises current practice where the Rural Fire Service Commissioner issues public warnings in the event
of bushfires.

         During a briefing on the bill with Assistant Commissioner Rob Rogers and the Minister's ever-obliging
advisor Lucy Clynes, I asked about the status of the SMS messaging system, which is a critical part of the
warning system. The assistant commissioner indicated that location-based messaging, as opposed to billing
address-based messaging, will be operational in the next calendar year. During a budget estimates committee
hearing in September this year the Director General of Emergency Management NSW said that the expectation
was that the system would be operational by the end of this year. Whilst I am aware this is a matter for the
private sector with regard to Telstra and that there are a number of technical issues that need to be resolved, I am
concerned that this now appears to be a two-year delay. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to provide in his reply
an update on the status of this system for the benefit of the Hansard record.

         The problem is that a person who is on holidays or who is visiting an area that faces a bushfire
catastrophe—or for that matter a flooding catastrophe as the rains deluge the Central West of New South
Wales—will not get the message. The Hon. Duncan Gay has just forwarded to me some photographs depicting
the river banks bursting in some areas near Dubbo. If a person were holidaying in a caravan park in Dubbo at
present and the caravan park needed to be evacuated, the person would not get an SMS message. All experts
agree that it is a big flaw in the system; indeed, it is a problem they have been trying to resolve for two years.
28674                                                 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           1 December 2010


          Neighbourhood safer places are largely organised through New South Wales communities. There was
concern that up until nine months ago the Blue Mountains did not have one. I am about to read onto Hansard a
list of the outstanding councils that have no neighbourhood safer places organised in their local communities. In
doing so I acknowledge that most of them are located in western New South Wales and are not in areas of high
vegetation. Those councils are: Blacktown, Bland, Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Central Darling, Cobar,
Coolamon, Hunters Hill, Hurstville, Lockhart, Moree Plains, Mosman, Murrumbidgee, North Sydney and
Queanbeyan—the Minister's electorate, where concerns have also been raised about vegetation in the area. In
conclusion, I quote another of my correspondents on this bill who said:

         ... these public acts comforters, all 'after the event' actions, without addressing the primary cause—the lack of management of
         fuel loadings and minimisation of fire intensity. This demonstrates a lack of caring for all long-term aspects of our environment
         and the sensible people attempting to live in a mutually (environmentally) sustainable way. Regulations don't stop fires or remove
         hazards, people's actions do.

I place on record the appreciation of the Liberal-Nationals Coalition for the men and women of the Rural Fire
Service, and I thank all those who have provided comments on this bill. I pray that this year's fire season will be
a reasonably safe one. I thank all volunteers for their work in the hazard reduction activities carried out
throughout the year in an effort to ensure safety wherever possible.

         The Hon. IAN COHEN [5.10 p.m.]: On behalf of the Greens I speak to the Rural Fires Amendment
Bill 2010. I can advise the House that the Greens support the bill and the broader review of our emergency
management legislation in light of the tragedy of the 2009 Victorian bushfires. The bill is primarily focused on
developing neighbourhood safer places within local communities as a place of last resort for people during a
bushfire as part of a contingency plan if their bushfire survival plan has failed or cannot be put into action. I am
advised that the concept of neighbourhood safer places evolved out of the recommendations of the Victorian
Bushfires Royal Commission. The bill allows the Commissioner of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service to
designate neighbourhood safer places that are suitable for people to shelter from bushfires on either public or
private land. If the area designated is not owned or occupied by a public authority, then the commissioner must
obtain the consent of the owner or occupier of the land.

         Under new section 62D the commissioner will have an obligation to conduct annual inspections of each
neighbourhood safer place. The commissioner may direct a hazard management officer to serve a hazard
reduction notice to an owner or occupier of land designated as a neighbourhood safer place or on an adjoining
landowner. This is consistent with existing powers to issue hazard reduction notices. The designation of a
neighbourhood safer place can be removed or revoked if the commissioner is of the opinion that the land is no
longer required as a safer place or the owner-occupier has requested in writing to have the designation removed.
If an owner-occupier seeks to have the designation removed the commissioner is to remove the designation
within 12 months.

          Proposed section 62F requires the commissioner to keep a register of all neighbourhood safer places,
and a copy of the register is to be published on the New South Wales Rural Fire Services website. In addition to
the signposting required in proposed section 62G, it would be helpful for local government to provide individual
households with information on safer places. For example, when local councils send out calendars to residents
with waste collection times they could also include information about safer places. In addition to the
introduction of neighbourhood safer places, the bill also adds a new function to the Rural Fire Service in relation
to issuance of public warnings about bushfires and the addition of representatives of Industry and Investment
New South Wales on the Bush Fire Coordinating Committee. I would assume the addition of these two
members to the committee comes out of the findings of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission on
electricity caused fires. Electricity infrastructure poses significant bushfires risks especially where maintenance
regimes are not complied with.

         As we approach the summer season it is important that our emergency service agencies are highly
prepared. It is also important that we also prepare as a community for these emergencies. Communities play a
significant role in emergency management. They work with neighbours, their local State Emergency Service,
and their local fire services. They ignore the inappropriate comments made in the media by certain politicians
and the irresponsible reporters, and get on with preparing their community for the challenges of living in the
Australian landscape. The idea of neighbourhood safer places is another example of how communities can better
prepare for bushfires. The Greens commend the bill to the House.

         Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [5.14 p.m.]: On behalf of the Christian Democratic Party I am
pleased to support the Rural Fire Service Amendment Bill 2010. It is right and proper for the Government to
1 December 2010                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                            28675


take into account the tragic events that occurred in Victoria: the horrific bushfires and death of so many
individuals and, in some case, entire families. We not do want to see that tragedy repeated in New South Wales.
It is right and proper to draw lessons from the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and the reports produced.

         The amendments outlined in this bill have arisen from the New South Wales response to the
recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. It is right and proper that we learn from that
shocking tragedy. The Rural Fires Amendment Bill 2010 makes changes in three important areas: the Rural
Fires Act 1997, the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 and the Rural Fires Regulation 2008.
The bill will formalise the responsibility of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service to issue public warnings
about bushfires, increase the level of representation on the New South Wales Bushfire Coordinating Committee,
and grant statutory recognition to neighbourhood safer places.

          Some of the most significant recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission's findings
relate to the delivery of information during a bushfire—that is, the serious breakdown that occurred in the
Victorian bushfires. In those bushfires literally thousands of people had no idea of the progress of the fire, that
their villages were in the pathway of the fire or of the speed of the fire, and that their lives were at risk. Some
people thought by remaining in their homes they would survive. Others who sought to escape were unable to
leave due to the smoke, the fallen trees and accidents, and many died in or near their cars. We do not want to see
that terrible tragedy repeated, and certainly not in New South Wales.

         The bill clarifies neighbourhood safer places. These have evolved from the royal commission's findings
and recommendations. A neighbourhood safer place is a place of last resort for people during a bushfire as part
of a contingency plan if their bushfire survival plan has failed or cannot be put into action. A neighbourhood
safer place is an identified building or open space which can provide a high level of protection from the
immediate life-threatening effects of a bushfire. It is important for those safer places to be assessed and for
residents in areas of risk to receive clear instructions as to whether those neighbourhood safer places can be
used. A full-scale evacuation plan may be preferable, and all the people from areas of risk should be evacuated.
I believe that should more often than not be the plan and the action. It should always be on the agenda. No
authority should be embarrassed if it has to carry out a forced evacuation plan in an effort to save peoples' lives.
I support the bill.

         The Hon. MICHAEL VEITCH (Parliamentary Secretary) [5.18 p.m.], in reply: I thank members
from both sides of the Chamber for their contribution to the debate on the amendments to the Rural Fires Act
1997. As mentioned previously, the amendments will vest the Rural Fire Service with the responsibility to issue
public warnings about bushfires, broaden the level of representation on the New South Wales Bushfire
Coordinating Committee, and grant statutory recognition to neighbourhood safer places. The amendments, to an
extent, formalise existing arrangements such as those relating to the issue of emergency warnings and
neighbourhood safer places. They also enhance the membership of the State's Bushfire Coordinating Committee
by the addition of specific expertise relating to electricity infrastructure. The recommendations of the 2009
Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission underlined the importance of introducing measures that would help
avoid a disaster of similar proportions occurring again. The amendments will help the Rural Fire Service fulfil
even more of the Victorian Royal Commission's recommendations. The amendments, together with the
Government's recently announced $106.9 million funding package for bushfire protection, give the necessary
backing to the Rural Fire Service to continue its ongoing improvements to the level of bushfire protection that it
provides to the people of New South Wales.

         During contributions to the second reading speech, the Hon. Melinda Pavey asked for assurance about
local community involvement in neighbourhood safer places. I am advised that the Rural Fire Service will
ensure that the current practice of engaging both local emergency management committees and local
government in relation to neighbourhood safer places will be maintained. The Hon. Melinda Pavey also spoke
about the need to ensure that neighbourhood safer places were accessible to people with disabilities. I am
advised that many of the neighbourhood safer places will be located in local council buildings and schools and,
therefore, will be able to cater for people with disabilities. I commend the bill to the House.

         Question—That this bill be now read a second time—put and resolved in the affirmative.

         Motion agreed to.

         Bill read a second time.

         Leave granted to proceed to the third reading of the bill forthwith.
28676                                               LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                           1 December 2010


                                                      Third Reading

         Motion by the Hon. Michael Veitch agreed to:

         That this bill be now read a third time.

         Bill read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.

                      CRIMES (SENTENCING PROCEDURE) AMENDMENT BILL 2010

                                                      Second Reading

         Debated resumed from 23 November 2010.

         The Hon. DAVID CLARKE [5.21 p.m.]: I lead for the Opposition on the Crimes (Sentencing
Procedure) Amendment Bill 2010. The purpose of the bill is to amend the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act
1999 and certain other Acts to implement recommendations of the New South Wales Sentencing Council, which
are contained in its report entitled "Reduction in Penalties at Sentence", dated August 2009, and to amend the
Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 to provide for the aggregation of sentences. Although the Opposition
does not oppose the bill, we will be moving an amendment during the Committee stage to improve its operation.
The bill seeks to implement 13 legislative recommendations made by the Sentencing Council over a year ago.
Whilst the Opposition does not oppose the bill, we express our concern about the length of time it has taken for
the Government to bring the legislation before Parliament.

         In specific terms, the bill amends section 135 of the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999,
which requires the Parole Authority to have regard to certain matters when deciding whether to make a parole
order for a sentence of more than three years for which a non-parole period has been imposed. This section is
amended to implement a Sentencing Council recommendation to enable the Parole Authority to have regard to
the nature and extent of the assistance provided by an offender after being sentenced and the degree to which the
offender's willingness to provide such assistance reflects the offender's progress in rehabilitation when deciding
whether or not it is appropriate in the public interest to release the offender on parole. This reflects the view of
the Sentencing Council that an appropriate way to encourage the cooperation of prisoners, notwithstanding they
have already been sentenced, is to specify that such assistance, subject to its value, could be a factor in
determining whether to release the prisoner on parole.

         The bill makes a number of amendments to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. Currently,
section 22 of the Act requires a court to take a guilty plea into account when passing sentence and enables it to
impose a lesser penalty than it otherwise would have imposed. The bill amends this provision so as to require a
court to take into account when passing sentence the circumstances in which an offender indicated an intention
to plead guilty. It will allow the court to take into consideration factors that may have affected the timeliness of
the offender's offer or willingness to plead guilty. Section 22 is also amended to specifically require that any
lesser penalty imposed by the court under this section must not be unreasonably disproportionate to the nature
and circumstances of the offence.

         Section 22A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act gives a court the discretion to impose a lesser
penalty than it otherwise would have imposed, having regard to the degree to which the offender made pre-trial
disclosures for the purposes of the trial. This provision is amended to enable a court to impose a lesser penalty,
having regard to the degree to which the administration of justice has been facilitated by the defence, whether by
disclosures made pre-trial, during the trial or otherwise. Another provision of the Act to be amended is that
which empowers a court to impose a lesser penalty if an offender has assisted or undertaken to assist law
enforcement authorities in the prevention, detection or investigation of an offence and sets out the factors to be
taken into account by a court to decide whether to impose the lesser penalty.

          Specifically, the bill rejects, on the basis that they serve no useful purpose, the current provisions that
specify as factors to be taken into account the effect of the offence on an offender's victim or victim's family and
the likelihood of the offender reoffending on release. Those provisions serve no useful purpose. Henceforth, a
court that imposes a lesser penalty than it otherwise would have imposed because the offender assisted or
undertook to assist law enforcement authorities is required to indicate to the offender that the lesser penalty is
being imposed for that reason, to state the penalty that would otherwise have been imposed and, where the lesser
penalty is being imposed for both reasons, to state the amount by which the penalty has been reduced for
each reason.
1 December 2010                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                     28677


          Under section 24A of the Act a court, when sentencing, must not take into account as a mitigating
factor certain matters relating to mandatory supervision of sex offenders. The bill amends the section to include
that an offender is prohibited from engaging in child-related employment under the Commission for Children
and Young People Act 1998, having been convicted of a serious sex offence, the murder of a child or a child-
related personal violence offence. A further recommendation of the Sentencing Council is contained in proposed
section 24B. This amendment prevents a sentencing court from taking into account as a mitigating factor the
consequences to the offender of any court order imposed as a result of an offence committed under confiscation
or forfeiture legislation. The bill includes new provisions relating to consultation with the victim during charge
negotiations. These provisions require consultation with the victim and any police officer in charge of
investigating an offence in relation to agreed statements of fact and lists of additional charges compiled as a
result of charge negotiations. The Government states:

         Nothing in the new provision requires prosecutors to do anything other than that which they are effectively required to do and
         should not have any impact on current practices with respect to charge negotiations.

Recently the Attorney General issued a press release stating:

         The certificate will need to be signed by the prosecutor in charge of the case after consultation with the victim.

However, no mention is made as to whether the prosecutor and the victim must reach agreement on the
appropriateness of the agreed facts. This can be a difficult area, particularly if the victim is a child and parents or
carers have differing views to those of the prosecutor. The bill amends section 57 of the Crimes (Sentencing
Procedure) Act 1999, which provides that sentences for offences involving escape from lawful custody
committed by inmates of correctional centres are to be served consecutively, with sentences of imprisonment
imposed on the offender for other offences. Because of some doubt as to whether the escape offence should be
served before or after such sentences, the section is amended to make clear that the sentence for an escape
offence should be served after any sentence imposed in the same proceedings.

         The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment Bill also amends the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders)
Act 2006 to make clear that applications for extended supervision orders and continuing detention orders may
be made in respect to sex offenders who are serving sentences of imprisonment for one or more serious sex
offences or offences of a sexual nature or other offences being served concurrently or consecutively, or partly
concurrently and partly consecutively, irrespective of which was imposed first. The second part of this bill
implements a form of aggregate sentencing to simplify sentencing for multiple offences. As the law currently
stands, when sentencing for multiple offences, the sentencing court is required to set out in great detail the
precise length and commencement and expiry dates of the non-parole period and total periods of custody for
each offence. The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act is amended to enable a court when sentencing an offender
for more than one offence to impose an aggregate sentence of imprisonment in respect to all or any two or more
of those offences, rather than imposing a separate sentence of imprisonment for each.

          The term of an aggregate sentence of imprisonment that could have been imposed if separate sentences
of imprisonment had been imposed in respect of each offence to which the sentence relates must not be less than
the shortest term of imprisonment, if any, that must be imposed for any separate offence or, if the sentence
relates to more than one such offence, must not be less than the shortest term of imprisonment that must be
imposed for any of the offences. A court that imposes an aggregate sentence of imprisonment in respect of two
or more offences on an offender may set one non-parole period for all the offences to which the sentence relates
after setting the term of the sentence. The term of the sentence that will remain to be served after the non-parole
period set for the aggregate sentence of imprisonment is served must not exceed one-third of the non-parole
period unless the court decides that there are special circumstances for it being more, in which case the court
must make a record of its reasons for the decision.

        As I indicated earlier, the Opposition does not oppose this bill although we have concerns about
proposed new section 24B, as a result of which we will seek to amend in the Committee stage. Subject to that
concern, the bill is, on the whole, a step forward in simplifying the sentencing process for the judiciary.

         Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [5.30 p.m.]: The Christian Democratic Party supports the Crimes
(Sentencing Procedure) Amendment Bill 2010. The bill will amend the sentencing legislation to give effect to
the recommendations of the Sentencing Council in its Report on Reduction in Penalties at Sentence and a
proposal to implement a form of aggregate sentencing for multiple offences. The Sentencing Council's Report
on Reduction in Penalties at Sentence was publicly released in late 2009. The review was undertaken following
a request by the Attorney General and it made 15 recommendations to clarify certain aspects of sentencing. The
bill implements the 13 legislative recommendations.
28678                                         LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                 1 December 2010


         The amendments regarding aggregate sentencing were initially developed in consultation with the
heads of judiciary, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Legal Aid NSW, the New South Wales Bar Association
and the Law Society of New South Wales. They provide the sentencing court with an option, when sentencing
for multiple offences, to set a single non-parole period and overall sentence. There is still a requirement to give
an indication of the sentence that would have been imposed individually for each offence, in order to preserve
the transparency of the sentencing process. But the court need not, as currently required, set out the precise
degree of accumulation and the commencement and expiry dates of each and every sentence.

         In considering this bill one thought went through my mind in relation to dealing with the situation of
multiple offences. The United States of America has a different procedure in regard to sentencing. For example,
a person who murders three people receives one sentence of a number of years in jail, whereas in the United
States of America a person who commits three murders receives three sentences. That is why sometimes in the
United States people are sentenced to jail for 150 years. To make the impact of the crime clear when there are
multiple serious offences such as murder or rape perhaps the Government should consider such sentences. I am
not sure whether this bill will allow that to happen and whether in aggregate sentencing the judge would have
the flexibility when he sentences someone to follow the American pattern of sentencing. However, we support
the practical aspects of this bill, which are improvements in the area of sentencing.

         Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [5.33 p.m.]: The Greens do not oppose the Crimes (Sentencing
Procedure) Amendment Bill 2010. To the extent that particular elements of the bill, such as aggregate
sentencing, reduce the legal complexities that confront judges on a daily basis when going through the task of
sentencing, the Greens support the bill. When one looks at the complexity in the current sentencing laws,
particularly dealing with multiple offences, the task that confronts judges in going through and ticking every box
under the present laws to ensure that they are free from appealable error is so technical and such a legally
complex task that one has to question whether or not the final result allows for sufficient judicial reflection
when judges are going through such a detailed technical process in arriving at the final sentence.

         This approach to aggregate sentencing allows for a more rational synthesis of the various elements and,
hopefully, a way in which judges can synthesise all the elements necessary for sentencing, enabling them to look
at the totality of the offences in a much clearer way without having to be so constrained by the current legal
technicalities. The Greens see this as the primary benefit of this piece of legislation. The Greens also
acknowledge that it has been worked through with the New South Wales Bar Association and with the Law
Society of New South Wales as well as with other groups and that it adopts, in large part, the recommendations
of the Sentencing Council, which, for the benefit of the Attorney General, I have read—again.

           There are some concerns in relation to schedule 1.3 to the extent that this dovetails with some
amendments that were put through this House yesterday regarding the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act
2007. I note the Greens reservations in relation to that but I note the tenor of the House and I will not be
dividing or otherwise continuing the argument from yesterday in relation to that piece of legislation. In general,
this bill is a welcome piece of legislation that simplifies the very complex tasks that judges face on a daily basis.
Hopefully, it will allow sentencing to more reflect the real merits of the cases that confront judges without
judges being so constrained by legal technicalities and inevitable appealable error, as currently exists.

          The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS (Attorney General, Minister for Citizenship, Minister for
Regulatory Reform, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [5.36 p.m.], in reply: I thank members for
their contributions to debate on the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment Bill 2010. I commence by
thanking the New South Wales Sentencing Council not only for the recommendations that form the basis of this
legislation but also for the hard work that it has done over a number of years in conducting a detailed analysis of
sentencing law and attempting to improve it in a number of respects. It brings together a whole range of
different stakeholders and the work that they have done, not only in relation to the discounts reference but also
the other references in relation to periodic detention, sex offenders, serious sex offenders and alcohol-related
crime and it has been most useful in ensuring that the New South Wales sentencing approach reflects
community standards.

          It is very often said that the Parliament has overly complicated the sentencing provisions. The impetus
for changing the law in relation to aggregate sentencing was not a consequence of any action that the Parliament
took; it was a consequence of a High Court decision in Pearce v The Queen where the High Court held that the
court must, when sentencing an offender for more than one offence, fix an appropriate sentence for each offence
and then consider questions of accumulation or concurrence as well as a totality. When combined with the
principles underscored in section 53 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, the requirements to state
the degree of accumulation can become an extremely complex exercise.
1 December 2010                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                            28679


         Since this bill was drafted the Chief Judge at Common Law has had an opportunity to look at and to
further reflect on some of its provisions. I understand that he has discussed this with a number of colleagues.
The Government will be moving a number of amendments in Committee to further improve the provisions in
relation to aggregate sentencing and to ensure that they do not become overly complicated. With those
comments, I commend the bill to the House.

         Question—That this bill be now read a second time—put and resolved in the affirmative.

         Motion agreed to.

         Bill read a second time.

                                                            In Committee

         Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

         The Hon. DAVID CLARKE [5.40 p.m.]: I move Opposition amendment No. 1:

         Page 5, schedule 1.2 [8], proposed section 24B (1), line 25. Omit "because". Insert instead "in respect of proceeds".

This bill proposes the insertion of a new section in the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act—namely, proposed
new section 24B (1)—which provides that in sentencing an offender the court must not take into account as a
mitigating factor the consequences for the offender of any order of a court imposed because of the offence under
confiscation or forfeiture legislation. The Bar Association of New South Wales has submitted that this provision
is too broad because the confiscation or forfeiture legislation referred to is not limited in its operation to
proceeds of crime as that term is generally understood. It maintains that, in particular, such legislation results in
the forfeiture not only of proceeds of crime but also instruments of crime. Circumstances may arise where it
would be unjust for a sentencing court to be prohibited from taking into account such forfeiture. The Opposition
agrees with the concern expressed by the Bar Association and accordingly proposes that section 24B (1) be
amended. I commend the amendment to the Committee.

         The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS (Attorney General, Minister for Citizenship, Minister for
Regulatory Reform, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [5.42 p.m.]: The Government cannot support
this amendment. The Bar Association has clarified that the amendment was prepared by Mr Odgers and was not
the subject of its formal endorsement. The amendment is also contrary to the recommendations of the New
South Wales Sentencing Council. The council states in recommendation No. 10:

         The Council recommends that consideration be given to amending the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 so as to include a
         provision that where an offender is subject to orders made under state or federal legislation providing for the confiscation of
         assets or for the forfeiture of the proceeds of crimes, the court is precluded from regarding such confiscation or forfeiture as extra
         curial punishment.

The supporting reasons are these: Firstly, in most cases under both Commonwealth and New South Wales
legislation the court has a discretion as to whether or not a forfeiture order should be made. Such discretion
invites consideration of the regular use of the asset in question, any hardship that might arise or the public
interest. As such, it is unlikely that an order would be made that would affect a family's home where it was the
mere location for the commission of an offence. I understand that there have been cases where homes have been
forfeited, but in those cases they have been intrinsic to the crime. I was told of a case some years ago in which a
house was the venue for a range of illicit activities involving recording images of naked children. Various rooms
in the house had cameras installed to allow for the recording. The offender in that case bitterly resisted the
application for forfeiture of the house. However, the court ultimately determined that it should be forfeited
because it was clearly a valuable instrument in the crime. The Coalition's amendment would invite the court to
say that if a person operated as the offender did in that case—and the house was clearly a valuable asset in the
commission of the crime—he or she would be able to obtain a discounted sentence.

         Secondly, the prosecution in any case has a discretion to seek a restraining order or a forfeiture order on
the argument that is put that any house, car, business premises or office space could and would be seized in
every case. That is unlikely. The prosecution must decide to seek an order and the circumstances that may be
referred to—considerations of hardship and the public interest—would again need to be taken into account.
A good example is boats used in drug offences; they are not the proceeds but the instrument of crime. Should
there be any capacity for a court to provide a discount in that case? Logic suggests that this amendment should
28680                                         LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                1 December 2010


be rejected. It might have some superficial attraction but the Legislature takes a policy position in respect of
proceeds, assets and instruments of crime and has a process for dealing with them. The criminal process should
deal with punishment for a criminal offence; it should not be diluted by some misplaced considerations
of hardship.

          As I said, the Government has been at pains to deter criminal activity through the targeting of assets of
those who engage in criminal behaviour and by introducing legislation relating to unexplained wealth. This
legislation is entirely consistent with the approach of punishing offenders through sentencing and the criminal
justice system and separately stripping them of their criminal assets through civil forfeiture.

         The Government has introduced this legislation after extensive consideration. It also contains a range of
proposals that go the other way. For example, the legislation contains specific clauses providing that if a person
is prepared to provide assistance to the authorities, even if it happens after a sentence is handed down, it can be
taken into account in the parole process. We have a very balanced set of recommendations on sentencing and the
Government has adopted those recommendations after detailed consideration by all the stakeholders. The
Government is not prepared to accept this amendment because it would dilute the objectives of asset
confiscation legislation by effectively allowing people to obtain discounts on sentences based on a misplaced
notion of hardship.

          Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [5.48 p.m.]: The Greens support this amendment. We do so for the
simple reason that there should be a distinction between punishment and recovery of assets that have been
obtained through criminal activities. This amendment, which was provided by Mr Odgers, draws that sensible
distinction. If a criminal comes before a sentencing court and has had assets confiscated because they are the
proceeds of criminal activity—that could be a drug dealer's boat, to use the Attorney's example, or a criminal's
Vaucluse mansion—that should not allow for any discount in sentencing. They are ill-gotten gains.

          Legislatures have determined that where a citizen has used an asset that was not obtained as a result of
criminal activity—such as the family home, the runabout to which the Attorney General referred, the little tinny
they use to smuggle shellfish up and down the coast or the motor vehicle that they use in the course of criminal
activity such as a drug deal, a burglary or whatever—it can be confiscated because it is an instrument of crime.
That is the status quo and most of us accept that. Where a citizen uses an instrument for the purpose of a
criminal endeavour he risks losing that asset if he is found guilty of that criminal endeavour.

         But that is clearly part of the penalty. It goes to penalty. It is not just taking away an asset they never
should have had, an asset obtained through criminal means. That is not a penalty; that is just getting you back to
where you should have been without the criminal activity. But where one loses an asset not obtained through
criminal activity that is clearly a relevant factor when considering penalty, and that is all this amendment does.
It allows a court to say that this gentleman did a criminal act or this lady did a criminal act and as part of that
they have lost their home and take will be taken into account when assessing the sentence. That is all it says: the
judge can take that into account.

         It does not mandate a discount. It does not mandate anything; it is just something the judge can
consider when assessing the appropriate sentence. It does not allow the judge to take into account the fact that a
criminal has lost an asset acquired through criminal activities. That is not what the amendment is saying. That
should be excluded for sentencing purposes. But where a house, boat or car obtained through lawful means has
been lost, that should be one of the elements that courts can take into account in sentencing.

         Question—That Opposition amendment No. 1 be agreed to—put.

         The Committee divided.

                                                     Ayes, 17

                   Mr Ajaka                       Miss Gardiner                  Mrs Pavey
                   Mr Clarke                      Mr Gay                         Mr Pearce
                   Mr Cohen                       Dr Kaye                        Mr Shoebridge
                   Ms Cusack                      Mr Khan                        Tellers,
                   Ms Faehrmann                   Mr Mason-Cox                   Mr Colless
                   Ms Ficarra                     Ms Parker                      Mr Harwin
1 December 2010                                      LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                         28681


                                                              Noes, 20

                    Mr Borsak                              Mr Kelly                             Ms Sharpe
                    Mr Brown                               Reverend Dr Moyes                    Mr Veitch
                    Mr Catanzariti                         Reverend Nile                        Mr West
                    Ms Cotsis                              Mr Obeid                             Ms Westwood
                    Ms Fazio                               Mr Robertson                         Tellers,
                    Mr Foley                               Ms Robertson                         Mr Moselmane
                    Mr Hatzistergos                        Mr Roozendaal                        Ms Voltz

                                                                  Pairs

                                         Mr Gallacher                        Mr Donnelly
                                         Mr Lynn                             Mr Primrose

        Question resolved in the negative.

        Opposition amendment No. 1 negatived.

        Schedule 1 agreed to.

        The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS (Attorney General, Minister for Citizenship, Minister for
Regulatory Reform, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [5.59 p.m.], by leave: I move Government
amendments No. 1 and 2 in globo:
        No. 1   Page 12, schedule 2 [14], proposed section 53A (2) (c), lines 1-3. Omit all words on those lines.

        No. 2   Page 12, schedule 2 [15]-[17], lines 13-28. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead:

                         [15]     Section 54B Sentencing procedure

                                  Insert ", or an aggregate sentence of imprisonment with respect to one or more offences," after
                                  "offence" in section 54B (1).

                         [16]     Section 54B (2)

                                  Insert "(not being an aggregate sentence)" after "offence" where firstly occurring.

                         [17]     Section 54B (4A) and (4B)

                                  Insert after section 54B (4):

                                  (4A)     When determining an aggregate sentence of imprisonment for one or more offences, the court
                                           is to indicate, for those offences to which a standard non-parole period applies, the standard
                                           non-parole period (or a longer or shorter non-parole period) that it would have set in
                                           accordance with subsections (2) and (3) for each such offence to which the aggregate sentence
                                           relates had it set a separate sentence of imprisonment for that offence.

                                  (4B)     If the court indicates that it would have set a longer or shorter non-parole period for an
                                           offence under subsection (4A), it must make a record of the reasons why it would have
                                           increased or reduced the standard non-parole period. The court must identify in the record
                                           each factor that it would have taken into account.

These proposals seek to refine the provisions in relation to aggregate sentencing in order to avoid complications.
They have been suggested following consultation with the Chief Judge at Common Law and I commend them to
the Committee.

        Question—That Government amendments Nos 1 and 2 be agreed to—put and resolved in the
affirmative.

        Government amendments Nos 1 and 2 agreed to.

        Schedule 2 as amended agreed to.

        Title agreed to.

        Bill reported from Committee with amendments.
28682                                                LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           1 December 2010


                                                      Adoption of Report

        Motion by the Hon. John Hatzistergos agreed to:

        That the report be now adopted.

        Report adopted.

        Third reading set down as an order of the day for a later hour.

                                                    TABLING OF PAPERS

        The Hon. Michael Veitch tabled the following papers:

        (1)     Energy and Utilities Administration Act 1987—Report of the NSW Climate Change Fund for the year ended 30 June
                2010.

        (2)     Youth Advisory Council Act 1989—Report of the New South Wales Youth Advisory Council for the year ended
                30 June 2010.

        Ordered to be printed on motion by the Hon. Michael Veitch.

                           SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE NSW TAXI INDUSTRY

                                             Government Response to Report

      The Hon. Michael Veitch tabled the Government's response to the report entitled "Inquiry into the
NSW Taxi Industry", tabled 1 June 2010.

        Ordered to be printed on motion by the Hon. Michael Veitch.

                                                       TILLEGRA DAM

                                 Production of Documents: Further Return to Order

         The Clerk tabled, pursuant to the resolution of 10 November 2010, documents relating to a further
order regarding Tillegra Dam received this day from the Director General of the Department of Premier and
Cabinet, together with an indexed list of documents.

                                     Production of Documents: Claim of Privilege

         The Clerk tabled a return identifying documents received this day from the Director General of the
Department of Premier and Cabinet which are considered to be privileged and should not be made public or
tabled. According to standing order the Clerk advised that the documents are available for inspection by
members of the Legislative Council only.

              WORKERS' COMPENSATION (DUST DISEASES) AMENDMENT BILL 2010

                                                        Second Reading

       The Hon. MICHAEL VEITCH (Parliamentary Secretary) [6.03 p.m.], on behalf of the Hon. Eric
Roozendaal: I move:

        That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

        Leave granted.

        I am pleased to introduce the Workers' Compensation (Dust Diseases) Amendment Bill 2010 during Asbestos Awareness Week.

        The New South Wales Government currently provides lump-sum payments, under the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases)
        Act 1942, to the families of workers who have died due to asbestos and other dust-related diseases they acquired while on the job.
1 December 2010                                       LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                           28683


       This bill contains important legislative amendments to increase the maximum lump-sum payments that are made to these
       families.

       Losing a loved one is very traumatic for any family.

       Supporting the families of workers with a fatal dust disease is important for this Government and we want to make sure their
       compensation is adequate.

       When a worker dies of a dust-related disease they acquired while on the job, the New South Wales Government currently
       compensates the family with a one-off payment of up to $245,700.

       This bill includes an amendment to increase this payment to $311,050.

       This is in addition to benefits the worker receives, including the delivery of a range of health care services and payment of all
       medical expenses they incur as a result of the disease.

       Dependent family members will continue to be entitled to weekly payments, including payments to children and full-time
       students up to the age of 21.

       People think the incident rate of asbestos-related diseases is decreasing. Sadly it is not.

       Asbestos-related diseases affect more and more people each year with incident rates expected to continue increasing in the
       coming years.

       Although the dangers of unsafe handling of asbestos has been known for years, the long time between exposure and the onset of
       symptoms signalling a disease means the number of people with an asbestos-related disease is expected to increase every year
       until at least 2018.

       This increase will help ensure that the families of the workers left behind continue to receive a realistic level of compensation.

       The increase will be phased in, with the benefit increasing to $268,375 from the date of commencement of the proposed Act, to
       $291,040 one year later, and to $311,050 in the following year.

       The amendments increasing the lump sum payable will apply to the dependants of any worker who dies from today, the date of
       introduction of the bill.

       The New South Wales Government has a proud history of supporting sufferers of asbestos disease and will continue to do so.

       In January 2009, New South Wales opened the Bernie Banton Centre, the world's first stand-alone research facility dedicated to
       improving the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related diseases.

       The New South Wales Government committed $8.5 million to the Centre, which is a small gesture to the late Bernie Banton and
       is a world leader in developing better diagnosis and treatments tailored to individual patients.

       In February this year, the Government also launched the new $870,000 Dust Diseases Lung Bus.

       The mobile respiratory screening unit travels New South Wales with state-of-the-art facilities to help make early detection and
       referrals for respiratory problems easier.

       WorkCover is also carrying out campaigns to educate workers and the community on the dangers of asbestos.

       This will help reduce the number of people affected in the future.

       WorkCover's Asbestos and Demolition Unit has dedicated inspectors who visit commercial demolition and asbestos removal sites
       to ensure training, supervision and safe work practices are in place.

       The unit also operates an emergency hotline and after-hours service to ensure workers and the public are able to access
       information and assistance as quickly as possible.

       New South Wales is the only State in Australia to have established dedicated bodies to compensate dust disease victims.

       For more than 80 years, the Dust Diseases Board has been involved in compensating and caring for workers who have contracted
       a dust disease as result of their employment.

       The Dust Diseases Board pays compensation from the Dust Diseases Fund, constituted under the Dust Diseases Act.

       The Dust Diseases Fund primarily comprises contributions made by workers compensation insurers.

       Under section 6 of the Dust Diseases Act, the Board determines an amount, the Dust Diseases Levy, to be collected from workers
       compensation insurers each year, to cover the liabilities of the Dust Diseases Fund.

       The board obtains the advice of actuaries when making this determination.

       The New South Wales Government will continue to support asbestos victims. It is therefore fitting for me to introduce this
       bill today.
28684                                                    LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                        1 December 2010


        I will now outline the provisions of the bill.

        Firstly, as I have indicated, the bill increases the lump sum death benefit payable under the Workers Compensation (Dust
        Diseases) Act from the current amount of $245,700 to $311,050.

        The amount of the lump sum paid to the dependants of a deceased worker under the Dust Diseases Act has been historically
        maintained at 70-75 per cent of the amount of the lump sum payable to the dependants of deceased workers under the Workers
        Compensation Act 1987.

        The Workers Compensation Act was amended in October 2008 to increase the lump sum death benefit payable from $331, 250 to
        $425,000

        This amounted to a 28 per cent increase. No corresponding amendment was made to the lump sum payable under the Dust
        Diseases Act.

        The proposed amendment will restore the historical relationship between the death benefits in the dust diseases and workers
        compensation legislation.

        The board's actuaries advise the proposal will increase the Board's projected compensation payments by $9.7 million in 2010-11
        to $101.6 million.

        The increased future payments will remain at approximately $9 million per year over the next 10 years.

        The Dust Diseases Board has considered its liabilities and assets as well as actuarial advice and is confident that it can fund the
        proposed amendments to dependant entitlements without the need to increase the Dust Diseases Levy on employers. However, to
        minimise the initial impact of the increase on the Dust Diseases Fund, it is proposed that the increase will be phased in.

        There will be three annual increases, the first occurring on the date the Act commences.

        The Act commences on assent.

        Currently, the lump sum benefit is adjusted in accordance with the indexation provisions of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

        During the phase in period the indexation provisions will not apply.

        Indexation will recommence on 1 April 2013—the first adjustment date after the lump sum reaches $311,050.

        The proposal does not impact the weekly payments payable to workers' dependants. These payments will continue to be indexed
        as usual. The actuaries of the Dust Diseases Board have advised that the Dust Diseases Levy will not be impacted as a result of
        the proposed increases, as the benefits will be funded from the Dust Diseases Fund's capital base.

        Dust diseases, including mesothelioma, are diseases of long onset, with most people not exhibiting symptoms of a dust disease
        for 20 or more years from the time of exposure.

        As Australia became more aware of the dangers of asbestos, New South Wales introduced stringent occupational health and
        safety laws to protect New South Wales workers from being exposed to asbestos and other hazardous dusts, and to reduce the
        future incidence of disease within the New South Wales workforce.

        Reports issued over recent years have shown varying predictions for the number of cases of mesothelioma in the general
        community and when the peak of disease incidence will occur.

        Some reports suggest that the peak will occur in 2014, others 2018, or even later.

        The Dust Diseases Board compensates only those New South Wales workers who were exposed to dust in the workplace.

        The varying predictions of disease incidence cited in the reports include all members of the community who might have been
        exposed to asbestos, not just workers.

        The Dust Diseases Board has made awards of compensation for mesothelioma to 1,572 workers over the past 10 years.

        The total awards for all dust diseases, including mesothelioma, over this period is 3,775.

        The number of new compensation claims received by the board from New South Wales workers each year has not varied
        significantly over time.

        The annual number of new compensation claims from workers is anticipated to remain steady until 2018 when numbers are
        expected to start to decline.

        The other key amendment in this bill will allow the Dust Diseases Board to consider the age of the worker at the time of death as
        a factor to be taken into account when determining the amount of lump sum compensation to be paid to a dependant of a
        deceased worker.

        Dust diseases are diseases of long onset.

        Many persons do not display symptoms or disability from a dust disease until after retirement age.
1 December 2010                                       LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                         28685


         The average age of death for workers receiving benefits under the Dust Diseases Act is around 74 years.

         This differs significantly to the circumstances giving rise to entitlements to death payments under the Workers Compensation
         Act.

         The majority of those deaths are catastrophic and immediate in nature.

         The age of worker deaths covered by the Workers Compensation Act is somewhat younger.

         Section 8 (2B) (d) of the Dust Diseases Act currently allows the board to determine the amount of compensation that is
         "reasonable and proportionate to the injury of that person" to a partially dependent person following the death of a worker.

         The board considers the age of the worker at the time of death is a relevant consideration when determining what is reasonable
         and proportionate.

         The Dust Diseases Act does not expressly provide for age to be taken into account when determining lump sum payments to the
         dependants of deceased workers.

         Many workers are of an advanced age at the date of death. The Dust Diseases Board therefore considers that it is reasonable and
         appropriate for the dependants of a younger worker to receive more substantial lump sum compensation to meet their future
         needs than in the case of an older worker.

         This is an established approach in determining compensation for relatives of deceased persons at common law.

         The Dust Diseases Board proposes that a sliding scale of lump sum payments be adopted, based on the age of workers at their
         date of death, to promote greater transparency and predictability for the dependants of deceased workers and to allow for greater
         certainty in the calculation of the future liabilities of the Dust Diseases Fund.

         The board also considers that a distinction should not be made between dependants who were wholly or partially dependent on
         the deceased worker for this purpose.

         Section 8 (2B) (d) of the Dust Diseases Act allows the board to determine the amount of compensation that is "reasonably
         proportionate to the injury to that person" to a partially dependent person following the death of a worker.

         The majority of dependent spouses receiving compensation from the board are aged over 70 years and in receipt of the aged
         pension.

         Therefore, the board has decided to remove the income factor in exercising its discretion under section 8 (2B) (d) to reduce the
         maximum rates of the compensation payable.

         The board's actuaries assess that approximately 90 per cent of dependent spouse beneficiaries applying for compensation would
         be unaffected by removing consideration of the person's income.

         The board's actuaries have estimated that this change in policy will increase the board's annual compensation liability by
         $3 million in 2010-11, increasing to an additional $5 million in 2019-20.

         The proposed amendments in the Workers' Compensation (Dust Diseases) Amendment Bill 2010 will provide real improvements
         to support for the families of workers who have died due to asbestos and other dust-related diseases they acquired while on the
         job.

         I commend the bill to the House.

         The Hon. GREG PEARCE [6.03 p.m.]: This bill, which was brought on just yesterday, increases
payments to dependants of deceased workers who have died from asbestos-related diseases. The Government, in
its agreement in principle speech in the other place, outlined the reasons for the increases, which, on first blush,
appear to be very significant. Apparently similar lump sum death benefits were increased under the Workers
Compensation Act in October 2008 but not under the dust diseases Act, and these amendments are designed to
bring the dust diseases Act into line with that Act. The fact that it has taken the Government two years to update
those benefits highlights its lack of compassion and ability to manage.

          The Dust Diseases Board, through its actuaries, has indicated that the increased payments can be met
out of the assets of the fund and the other provisions are not particular controversial. As it is Asbestos
Awareness Week it is appropriate that the matter is finally dealt with, although it is another example of the
Government's incompetence in not attending to matters much earlier. The Liberals and Nationals do not oppose
the bill.

         Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [6.05 p.m.]: On behalf of the Greens I support the bill in large measure,
although we have significant reservations about it and earlier today circulated some amendments. I am hopeful
that other representatives in the Chamber support those amendments because they aim to make this an overall
beneficial package for victims and family members of victims, particularly of asbestos disease but also other
28686                                         LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                1 December 2010


dust diseases. The bill has two objects. The first object is to amend the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases)
Act 1942 to increase the lump sum death benefit payable to dependants of deceased workers. In place of the
usual indexation increases there are intended to be a series of increases, from $245,700 to $311,050 in three
annual increases, with the first increase occurring on commencement of the proposed Act. That will bring the
lump sum payable to dependants under the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act into line with the lump
sum benefit payable under the Workers Compensation Act and increasing the lump sum compensation payable
to dependants is admirable.

          It beggars belief that we have had a system in place for so long where dependants who have had the
misfortune to have their loved one die by reason of a dust disease at work received less compensation than
dependants whose loved ones died from other work-related illnesses. Why would we have a system in place that
gives, effectively, discounted damages to dependants simply because their spouse, father or uncle died from a
dust disease instead of being killed by machinery, a motor accident or some other mischance at work. There is
no rational reason for differing lump sum benefits. This bill seeks to remove that inequity and increase the lump
sum benefit payable under the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act. This is good. In the last couple of
years amendments have been made to the Workers Compensation Act 1987. Where death is occasioned under
that Act lump sum payments are paid in total to the dependants; they are not reduced. Dependants receive the
whole of the lump sum under the Workers Compensation Act regardless of dependency and the age of the
worker. The lump sum is simply paid to the dependants. There may be some argument about the amount that
each individual dependant will receive, but under that Act dependants receive the entire lump sum. It does not
matter if the worker is 30, 40, 60 or 80.

         Dr John Kaye: Or 61.

          Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: Or 61, as Dr John Kaye said. The Workers Compensation Act provides
that if a worker is killed at work by reason of his or her work, the workers' dependants receive the whole of the
lump sum—in other words, it values those lives equally. The amount of income supplement that dependants
receive can vary according to dependency, under both the Workers Compensation Act and the Workers
Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act. When considering whether to provide a weekly supplement or weekly
compensation in the form of income under the Act, it is entirely appropriate to look at the degree of dependency
and potentially the resources of the dependant who is making the claim.

          The bill extends the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Board's discretion to reduce the amount of
a lump sum payable to partially dependent persons so that it applies to partially and wholly dependent persons,
and so the board may take into account the age of the worker at the time of his or her death. While it would be
potentially appropriate to take into account the age of the worker when one is considering the lost stream of
income that dependants would receive, obviously a worker at age 70 will have a lesser income stream to provide
to dependants and that may have some relevance to the workers' economic loss and the amount of weekly
entitlements one would pay to the dependants. But the same rationale does not apply to the lump sum death
benefit. Quite often the death of a worker as a result of a dust disease is horrific and painful, and it takes place
over months, effectively suffocating the worker. That is as painful and awful a death—and as painful and awful
a fact for dependants to witness—whether the worker dies at age 50, 60, 70 or 40.

          In a crossbench briefing on the bill I was advised by the Minister's advisers that the average age of a
deceased person covered by the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act is 74. Currently there is no capacity
for the Workers Compensation Board to reduce the lump sum that is paid to the dependants having regard to the
age of the deceased worker. The Act provides that the dependants get the same amount of money for the death
of their loved one regardless of the age of their loved one upon death.

         Whilst the explanatory note to the bill states that the bill increases the lump sum death benefit payable
to dependants, I cite the case of a wholly dependent widow whose husband has died from asbestosis. As I have
said, the average age of a worker who has died from a dust disease is 74. The widow has always been wholly
dependent on the husband as the breadwinner. The husband dies an agonising death from asbestosis at age 74,
which is the average age. Previously the widow would have been entitled to receive the whole of the lump
sum—albeit a smaller sum, $245,000 or so; it was not the fully indexed amount. But the widow would have
received the whole of that sum. The board would have had no discretion to reduce the amount payable, even
though the husband was aged 74 at the time of his death.

         The bill allows the board to say, "Your husband was 74. That's old. He probably didn't have much
longer in him, even without the asbestosis." So, instead of the wife receiving the total lump sum, which might be
1 December 2010                                LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                             28687


$311,000, the board says, "Based on life tables, there was probably only an expectation of 10 years further life
for your husband, so we are going to reduce the lump sum to half", or to a third. Instead of the widow receiving
the whole of the lump sum, the widow may only receive $80,000, $100,000 or $120,000. Yet that widow has
seen her husband suffer the same awful death that she would have witnessed had her husband died at age 50, 60
or 30.

         Allowing that discretion in the tribunal to reduce the amount payable to widows in those
circumstances—and dependants in all circumstances, where those dependants were wholly dependent upon the
deceased—takes the law backwards. Indeed, instead of the bill doing what the explanatory note suggests it
does—which is to increase the benefits paid to victims of dust diseases and their families—it substantially
reduces the benefits payable to those who are wholly dependent upon older workers when they die.

         I questioned the Minister's advisers on this. In attendance at the crossbench briefing was a
representative of WorkCover and, I think, a representative of the Dust Diseases Board, although I could be
wrong on that. When I questioned them on the economic impact of this amendment to the Act, they said they
did not think it would have a substantial effect upon the statutory fund. The tenor of their response was that the
amendment is not such that it would create any substantial economic difficulty for the fund. Therefore, why are
we, with what is otherwise a good bill and a bill that is aimed at giving increased benefits to dependants and
increased benefits for the families of workers who have died from the terrible consequences of dust diseases,
with the one hand increasing the lump sum payable and with the other hand taking it away? This has particular
relevance when one notes that, as I said earlier, the average age of workers struck down by dust diseases is 74. If
the tribunal is allowed to take into account the worker's age in order to discount the amount paid to dependants,
we will potentially see substantially reduced payments of benefits to dependants.

          I ask the Government to address the costings. I also ask the Government to address why it is that, in a
bill that is described in the explanatory note as increasing benefits, there is this big sting in the tail of reducing
the amount payable to those who are wholly dependent upon older deceased workers who are struck down by
dust diseases.

        Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [6.17 p.m.]: On behalf of the Christian Democratic Party I am
pleased to support the Workers' Compensation (Dust Diseases) Amendment Bill 2010, which amends the
Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act 1942 to increase the maximum death benefit payable to dependants
of deceased workers and to provide for age to be taken into account when determining the amount of
compensation payable. We are very pleased that the bill will increase the lump sum benefit payable upon the
death of a worker who has been exposed to dust at work, and that the benefit is increased from $245,700 to
$311,050, to be implemented in three annual increases, the first increase occurring on the commencement of the
proposed Act. Indexation will imply to the increased amounts from 1 April 2013.

           I believe that this is only a matter of justice for workers who have been affected by asbestosis. We all
know the story of Bernie Banton. I am pleased that I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to attend the Bernie
Banton Foundation annual fundraising dinner, which is supported by the Premier, Kristina Keneally, and the
Leader of the Opposition, Barry O'Farrell, and many other members of Parliament. We are all pleased to give
support to that foundation, which obviously is a voluntary foundation seeking donations from members of the
community and, through Karen Banton's efforts as the chief executive officer of the foundation, successfully
raising funds to continue its very important work to investigate further ways of curing and helping people who
are affected by asbestosis and suffering from it. That is a great legacy to Bernie Banton. I am pleased to support
the bill, and I congratulate the Government on introducing it.

        Debate adjourned on motion by the Hon. Lynda Voltz and set down as an order of the day for a
later hour.

                                                ADJOURNMENT

         The Hon. MICHAEL VEITCH (Parliamentary Secretary) [6.21 p.m.]: I move:

         That this House do now adjourn.

                                           TAMWORTH ELECTORATE

       The Hon. TREVOR KHAN [6.21 p.m.]: Tonight I wish to speak about the State electorate of
Tamworth, and the failure of both this State Labor Government and the member for Tamworth to deliver upon
28688                                                LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                           1 December 2010


commitments made before and since the 2007 State election. There can be no doubt that at the last State election
two issues were front and centre in the campaign for the electorate of Tamworth, as well as in the minds of the
electors. First was the state of the Tamworth Hospital. There were countless stories about the standard of the
hospital including, but not limited to, its surgical wards and maternity wards. In an effort to garner support for
the member for Tamworth, Peter Draper, then Premier Morris Iemma flew to Tamworth to announce that a new
hospital would be built in Tamworth, with work to start prior to the 2011State election.

         We now know that that promise to build a new hospital was one worth in excess of $300 million. We
also now know that that promise has been broken. Time and again when I, as well as many in the community,
have raised the issue of progress of the redevelopment of this hospital, the member for Tamworth has said that
he was confident it would proceed. At other times, the member for Tamworth has told us that he was prepared to
be judged on the progress of the redevelopment. I quote from an article from the Northern Daily Leader:

         Mr Draper is after all the MP who famously told us that it was his job to deliver the funding for the Hospital redevelopment and
         that he was happy to be judged by his performance on this issue.

At times the member for Tamworth has accused me and others of scaremongering when we doubted that the
redevelopment would proceed as promised. What do we know now? The redevelopment is not proceeding, and
it will not commence before the next State election under the current Labor Government. We now know that the
best that they can do is to go cap in hand to the Federal Government for funding in the hope that somehow they
can distract the electorate of Tamworth from making judgement on the failure of both the Government and the
member for Tamworth to deliver—it is purely and simply a failure.

         Second was Chaffey Dam. The augmentation of that dam was once again a central plank of the member
for Tamworth's bid for re-election at the 2007 election. We are now approaching the 2011 State election and
once again it can only be observed that the State Labor Government and the member for Tamworth have failed
to deliver on the augmentation of Chaffey Dam. We now know this project is worth some $55 million, and we
also know that the Federal Government has pledged in excess of $16 million, certainly with strings attached.
Sadly, despite repeated questioning and probing, we are no clearer on where the State Labor Government stands
on that project. Equally sadly, it seems that despite all his fine words and photo opportunities with various State
Labor Ministers, the member for Tamworth, Peter Draper, has been unable to effect any progress with this
Government.

         Where are we now? We can conclude that on the two primary issues in the 2007 State election the
member for Tamworth and the State Labor Government have failed to deliver for the people of Tamworth.
There is no doubt that the member for Tamworth and the State Labor Government would point to the various
smaller projects that have come to fruition. Despite the worth of those projects to the individuals involved, we
now know what was promised at the 2007 State election was a commitment worth in the vicinity of
$350 million. I repeat, $350 million was promised and has not been delivered. When the people of the
Tamworth region go to the polls on 26 March 2011 they have 350 million good reasons to say to the member for
Tamworth: "Peter Draper, go now into retirement. Go and take your superannuation. Give the New South Wales
Liberal Party and The Nationals candidate for the seat of Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, at the 2011 election the
chance to deliver the projects that you have completely failed to deliver."

                                              NEWPORT PUBLIC SCHOOL

                                          ABORIGINAL PARENTING BOOK

          The Hon. KAYEE GRIFFIN [6.25 p.m.]: I would like to briefly mention two recent events I attended
in my duty electorates of Pittwater and Oxley. On Monday 29 November I had the pleasure of officially opening
the new facilities at Newport Public School on behalf of the Hon. Verity Firth, Minister for Education and
Training. These facilities were the result of major investment through the Building the Education Revolution
program and were aimed at modernising our schools through the delivery of necessary infrastructure, supporting
local jobs and stimulating investment in the process. The new facilities that were officially opened on Monday
included a new classroom block with six general learning spaces, a new canteen, alterations and additions to the
administration block, as well as associated external works and landscaping. Construction of these facilities was
jointly funded by the New South Wales and Commonwealth governments to the tune of almost $3.3 million, as
part of one of the largest public works programs ever undertaken in New South Wales.

        The designs for these works were based on the Newport Public School's concept plan, which was
developed in partnership with the school community and with the support of many hard-working, dedicated
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parents. The school community can be very proud of these facilities. The outcome of this considerable
investment was clear for all to see at Monday's opening. The new buildings feature the latest designs, with
spacious classrooms, wet areas for creative arts activities, shared withdrawal rooms for personalised learning,
and plenty of space for storage. In addition, the new staffroom provides a comfortable and pleasant environment
for all teachers to meet and prepare lessons, rather than have to meet in two smaller staffrooms.

         Newport Public School has long been a cornerstone of the local community. Since its humble
beginnings over 120 years ago—initially operating from a tent in 1888—the school has prided itself on
delivering quality education to the local community. I note that one of the commemoration stones at the school
shows that it became a public school in 1890. The school has established a strong reputation for providing
students with the best opportunities to develop a well-rounded education; academically, socially and culturally.
To ensure schools like this can continue to provide high-level quality education to their local communities, it is
paramount they be adequately funded. The maintenance and upgrades necessary to deliver the world's best
education for the children of New South Wales requires considerable investment from government.

         The $3.3 million capital works program at Newport Public School, jointly funded by the New South
Wales and Commonwealth governments, represents the kind of investment needed to help students continue to
reach their potential, and raise the bar of our State's already world-class academic standards. The Building the
Education Revolution has seen thousands of New South Wales schools receive new libraries, halls, classrooms,
science labs and outdoor learning areas, with $3.5 billion having been invested under the scheme. The Building
the Education Revolution has resulted in the creation of approximately 15,000 full-time jobs, and has seen
almost 4,700 projects undertaken to upgrade large-scale infrastructure, as well as renew and refurbish existing
infrastructure and undertake minor building works. Major upgrades such as these help deliver high-quality
educational resources for families and communities throughout New South Wales. Significant investments,
supported by adequate funding for future maintenance and upgrades, are central to providing the best education
system possible for the children of this State.

          On 29 October I attended the launch in my duty electorate of Oxley of the Aboriginal parenting book
Happy Gamambi, Healthy Dhalayi, Strong Burray. I was pleased to represent the Hon. Linda Burney, Minister
for Community Services, at the launch of such a wonderful parenting resource. This book is one of a series of
parenting books designed especially for Aboriginal families. The books have been produced by the Department
of Community Services to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal children across the State. Happy
Gamambi, Healthy Dhalayi, Strong Burray is full of simple advice and information about looking after children
at different stages of their development. Covering the developmental stages from newborn to five years of age,
the book focuses on the importance of attachment and play for children, and the involvement of their parents
and family members in their cognitive and social development. Each developmental stage offers information
and advice on behaviour, care, activities and diet.

         The book also includes a vocabulary list of body parts in Gumbaynggirr, Dhanggati and Gathang,
which are all Aboriginal languages used on the mid North Coast. The book recognises the importance of
Aboriginal children maintaining their heritage by keeping their language and culture alive through interaction
with family and community members. The book was funded through the Community Services Aboriginal Child,
Youth and Family Strategy— a New South Wales Government initiative supporting Aboriginal families and
children. The development of this book saw a strong level of support from the community, with approximately
20 families participating in photo shoots at Coffs Harbour, Kempsey and Taree.

         As well as depicting photographs of families, the book exhibits beautiful artwork developed by two
local Aboriginal artists, Stephen McLeod and Stacey Donovan. The illustrations depict fauna that can be found
in the mid North Coast region, giving the book a distinctive local feel. The event was a great day, with accolades
going to the 10 members of the local working party who guided the development of the event, and also to Kim
Thomson, key project manager.

                      PENRITH PANTHERS NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE TEAM

          The Hon. MARIE FICARRA [6.29 p.m.]: As Liberal duty upper House MLC for Mulgoa, and on
behalf of the Liberal candidate for Mulgoa, Councillor Tanya Davies, and Liberal member for Penrith, Stuart
Ayres, it is my great pleasure to speak about the outstanding dedication of the Penrith Panthers National Rugby
League team to their community. The work that Petero Civoniceva, Luke Lewis, Di Langmack and others at the
club do for their community is awe-inspiring. Last week many members met Petero Civoniceva and Luke Lewis
when they acted as White Ribbon ambassadors for the prevention of violence against women at the New South
Wales parliamentary White Ribbon ceremony and breakfast. Rugby league legend Paul Langmack also assisted
at the ceremony and breakfast.
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         Petero Civoniceva is a sincere and wonderful gentleman. As captain of the Penrith Panthers he has
worked hard to unite his team for success. Petero has been a Queensland State of Origin representative. We will
forgive him for that! This year he again represented Australia internationally. Petero has played over 40 Test
games for Australia in Four Nations, Tri-Nations, Kangaroo tours and the Prime Minister's 13, as well as State
of Origin games. In 2009 he broke the record for the most international matches for Australia of any rugby
league forward in history. In 1998, 2000 and 2006 he won National Rugby League [NRL] premierships. Petero
won Club Man of the Year in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009 and was a finalist in the National Rugby League Ken
Stephens Award in 2009 and 2010. Apart from his wonderful work on the field, Petero has voluntarily given his
time and dedicated himself to a number of community and charitable events.

         Last night it was my honour to host a tribute dinner for an incredible young man with a great future
ahead of him, Luke Lewis. Luke has played his entire professional career for Penrith Panthers and was in the
2003 Panthers grand final team. Luke has represented Australia and New South Wales. This year Luke was
named Penrith Panthers Player of the Year in a successful season for the club, which finished second on the
National Rugby League ladder. He collected the Daily M Lock Forward Award for 2010 and was awarded the
prestigious 2010 International Rugby League Lock Forward of the Year. He toured with the 2004 Kangaroos
and was picked as the eighteenth man for the Australian side to play in the Anzac Test in 2009. Luke played in
the Australian team for the 2009 Four Nations tournament and in 2010 he played for New South Wales
and Australia.

          Panthers on The Prowl Community Development Foundation seeks to make a difference to the
wellbeing of young people in the Nepean Region. It has assisted 15,000 young people since its establishment in
2001. The foundation operates literacy and leadership primary school classes, school community support
programs, government department interagency cooperation and active lifestyle programs providing nutritional
and fitness information, and education and training programs, and is involved in extensive community welfare
initiatives aimed at making a significant difference to young peoples' lives. Luke and Petero, together with other
Penrith Panthers players give hours of their time to the community. Luke has spearheaded Panthers on the Prowl
and also helps at local hospitals and schools and with youth and people on the streets. This year he was named
as a finalist for the 2010 Volunteer of the Year Award and is also an ambassador for Cure Our Future
Foundation for Cancer Research Foundation.

         Diane Langmack has been the heart and soul of the Panthers Women in League initiative. Since March
2006 she, together with Chris Rind, Jenny Matthews, Jill Hoff and Anne McLaren, has raised over $80,000 for
cancer research, Panthers on the Prowl and the Penrith Womens' Refuge. Diane has become a director of Cure
Our Future Foundation for Cancer Research to further the great work of much-respected cancer specialist
Professor John Rasko at Sydney University and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She also has given selflessly of
her time to the Victor Chang Foundation, the Children's Hospital, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and
many other causes. In 2010 Diane was nominated for NRL Woman of the Year, the 2010 New South Wales
Woman of the Year, the 2010 Telstra Business Woman of the Year and New South Wales Volunteer of the
Year. I congratulate Chief Executive Officer, Michael Leary, and the Panthers board for the excellent work they
do for our community. I wish the Penrith Panthers National Rugby League team all the best for 2011.

                           EGYPTIAN COPTIC CHRISTIANS PERSECUTION

          Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [6.34 p.m.]: I speak tonight about the persecution of Egyptian
Christians, which is occurring as I speak. Clashes have been taking place in Egypt between Christian protestors
and security forces. On one occasion 5,000 security officers harassed 3,000 Coptic Christians. These clashes are
major events. The Coptic Christians have been suffering persecution since the eleventh century. St Mark
brought Christianity to Egypt during the reign of Nero in the first century, as was recorded in the ancient books
of that time. We thank God for the growth of the Coptic Christian Church. Following the introduction of Islam
to Egypt, the Copts initially lived in peace but in the eleventh century they were subjected to significant
persecution. For example, restrictions were placed on repairing old churches and building new ones, testifying
in court, public behaviour, adoption, inheritance, public religious activities and dress codes. Slowly but steadily,
by the end of the twelfth century the face of Egypt changed from predominantly Christian to predominantly
Muslim. The Coptic community occupied an inferior position and lived in some expectation of Muslim hostility,
which periodically flared into violence.

          The persecution has not stopped; in fact, it has worsened. The present situation is that the Egyptian
Government discriminates against the Copts and hampers their freedom of worship. It enforces onerous
restrictions on building or repairing churches. It applies religiously discriminatory laws and practices concerning
1 December 2010                                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                            28691


family law, conversion and education. It restricts Copts from senior government, military and education
positions, and subsidises the media, which are used to attack the Copts. At the local level, police frequently
harass and sometimes even persecute Christians, particularly converts. In 1998 police detained up to 12,000
Copts in the village of el-Kosheh. Many were tortured, beaten and subjected to electric shock. This tragic
situation is escalating at this very moment.

         At 3.00 a.m. on 24 November nearly 5,000 security forces with over 45 vehicles cordoned off a church
site while builders worked on the roof of the roof to expand the building. The security forces used tear gas,
rubber bullets and live ammunition on the workers. Later, Muslims joined security forces in pelting Copts with
stones from a bridge overlooking the church. This was the second time in three days that security forces had
stormed the church. But this time they successfully entered and occupied the church building. According to eye
witnesses, security forces fired tear gas inside the church, where nearly 200 people were praying and keeping
vigil because they were afraid security forces would enter and demolish the building. One witness said:

         The forces arrived and told us over the microphone to stop working and leave the church, then they started firing tear gas and
         rubber bullets.

         They went to church and fired tear gas on women and children who were in the church. They ran after us over a quarter of a mile
         to arrest us.

According to Coptic activist Wagih Yacoub:

         Father Karas went out asking them to stop firing tear gas because of the children, so they fired one at him injuring his feet.

The Copts said they were unable to hide inside the church and the security tracked them down in the streets
surrounding the church and inside neighbouring houses where they had fled. Over 200 Copts have been arrested.
The 30 lawyers who reportedly tried to attend police questioning of the detained Coptic protestors were blocked
from entering the public prosecutor's office in Giza. Five lawyers who later managed to enter the building were
told by the general prosecutor that they could attend the questioning but could not consult privately with the
accused. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights stated:

         The prosecutors denied the lawyers' request to consult privately with the accused. They refused to put on record the lawyers'
         arguments questioning the validity of the proceedings and they also refused to put on record the injuries sustained by some of the
         accused.

Why are these Christians suffering? I call on all Christians to pray for our Coptic brothers and sisters in Egypt.
I also call on the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, to honour his recent promise and ensure the minority
Christian community is protected from all acts of violence and persecution. This violence must cease. Coptic
Christians must be allowed to live in peace in the nation of Egypt, where they were the original inhabitants. God
bless the Coptic Christians.

                                                RURAL HEALTH SERVICES

          The Hon. CHRISTINE ROBERTSON [6.39 p.m.]: After a career working mostly in rural health
I have maintained my firm commitment that country people deserve health services that are equally as good as
those provided in the city. I am pleased to say that during my eight years in this place, and in fact since 1995,
country health services have continued to improve. This financial year alone the New South Wales Government
is investing a record $16.4 billion total funding, which represents almost 29 per cent of the total State budget.
Millions and billions can be mind-boggling but the key fact to bear in mind is that this investment represents a
192 per cent increase in funding since the last time the Coalition was in office. More than $4 billion is allocated
this year towards rural and regional health, including an estimated $150 million in capital works.

         Just to mention some of the enhancements to the health services in rural areas on top of the
hardworking district and rural referral hospitals, numerous specialist and sub-specialist services are being
expanded to reduce the need for country patients to travel to metropolitan areas for care. Among those are the
cardiac catheterisation laboratories in Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Coffs Harbour and Lismore—an
excellent geographical spread. Stroke services have also been expanded right across the State, and Armidale has
excellent stroke services. I remind members that Armidale Hospital had several million dollars spent on it not
very long ago. Certainly they would like to have a brand new hospital but their services are excellent.

         The Hon. Rick Colless: Where is the clinical services plan? It's not there.
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         The Hon. CHRISTINE ROBERTSON: That is not true. Stroke services have also expanded to many
of these areas and other units are being established this year in Lismore, Tweed Valley, Dubbo and Orange. The
stroke service program is of great value and I have spoken about it in this place before. Regional trauma services
and renal dialysis services have also been expanded. What has happened in renal dialysis services has been an
amazing leap right up to the district and community hospital level. In 2010-11, $3 million has been allocated to
expand rehabilitation services in rural areas to support those recovering from injury as well as people with
chronic illnesses.

         If a patient requires renal dialysis that is at a level that can be dealt with at a district or community
hospital and the services are available—and more and more services are becoming available—that is where the
patient goes. As soon as a patient requires a specialist-type service or is sick, he or she has to go to a rural
referral hospital and sometimes to a tertiary-level hospital. That is the same for every disease process for
country people in New South Wales, and for trauma services for people like me. It means that you end up at the
right hospital so your head does not get caved in forever—you go somewhere where they can fix it.

         Access to cancer services has also radically improved, with State and Federal funding agreements
providing services across the State. Recent information I have received indicates that this has to be further
improved, but the Commonwealth-State agreement means that it is on the cards and it is happening. That is a
huge difference to patients and their families who have to travel long distances. Regional cancer centres and
improved services in rural hospitals mean that now more than 90 per cent of the State's population lives within
100 kilometres of a comprehensive cancer service. Country patients should not have to be disadvantaged by
distance in accessing health services. That is why the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance
Scheme is so important in subsidising patient trips of more than 200 kilometres return. I am very pleased that
from 1 January 2011 patients who need to travel for regular renal dialysis will be eligible for a subsidy for a
cumulative distance of more than 200 kilometres a week.

         I have spoken frequently about the multipurpose services. They provide a great service. They are about
community consultation and input. The New South Wales Government is investing almost $36 million in
multipurpose services and HealthOne facilities across the State. This financial year alone new facilities will be
built in Werris Creek, Gundagai and Lockhart as well as services expanded at Manilla, Balranald, Coonamble—
I went to the Coonamble opening, as I informed the House two weeks ago—Eugowra, Cootamundra, Corowa,
Pottsville and Quirindi. They will provide all the services people require in those areas. That is an excellent
record and I stand by it.

         I challenge the Opposition to continue to improve the health services of the State, especially in country
areas. All we hear is negative bagging, because it is necessary to scare the hell out of the electorate to get them
to vote for the Opposition. What a pity!

                                     BARANGAROO DEVELOPMENT

         Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [6.44 p.m.]: Sometime soon we can expect a decision from Tony Kelly,
the Minister for Planning, approving an enormous development in the Sydney central business district called
Barangaroo. The approval will be given under part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act
1979. That must not be the end of it. The development at Barangaroo is on 22 hectares of public land on the
western edge of the central business district. It is prime harbourside land and the developer is Lend Lease. There
is already approval for a world-class development on the site—the existing approved concept plan, which was
selected by a well-regarded citizens jury that considered more than 150 alternative concepts for the site.

         Those approved plans connect well with the city. They open up the foreshore and keep a working
harbour by providing docking facilities for cruise ships. Even though it is a very large development, delivering
more than 300,000 square metres of floor space, it is a good measure of the approved plans that they were
endorsed by Jack Mundey, the leader of the Green bans movement in the 1970s, who sat on the citizens jury that
selected the concept plan. Lend Lease and the planning Minister are not content with the approved concept plan.
Lend Lease is now asking the Minister to approve an amended development and is seeking more than 500,000
square metres of floor space. The development includes a series of extraordinarily large buildings, including one
known as C4, the bulk and scale of which horrifies all impartial observers. A private hotel is to be built smack
bang on our harbour.

          It goes without saying that the new proposal is far larger than is permissible under the City of Sydney's
planning laws. Lend Lease's amended application has been roundly condemned by the National Trust, the
Institute of Planning, the Institute of Architects, dozens of local residents and many others. The reason that Lend
Lease and the Minister for Planning can even be considering this extraordinary development is because it is
being assessed under part 3A. Part 3A, introduced by this Labor Government in 2005—supported by the
1 December 2010                              LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                          28693


Coalition and opposed only by the Greens—is the latest in a long line of measures implemented by governments
over the past 30 years to systematically dismantle the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

         Part 3A gives the Minister for Planning the power to approve developments across the State without
any adequate regard to their environmental impact, sustainable development, the local environment, appropriate
built form or community opinion. Part 3A has let developers and decision-makers escape scrutiny with
community consultation relegated to a developer-driven checklist on the way to an inevitable political approval.
It allows developers to bypass local councils, community concern and local planning regulations, with the only
significant result being inappropriate and ill-considered development across the State. Part 3A has undermined
public confidence in the planning system and the New South Wales Government due to a lack of transparency
and decisions that have contradicted all local planning controls. Part 3A allows a $100 million development to
be approved blind to local planning controls, when you, I or any other resident is limited to those planning
controls when doing a simple development in the backyard.
         The New South Wales Coalition has promised to repeal part 3A without saying what will replace it.
This promise rings hollow without a commitment from the Opposition to any more than a two-year review of
the planning system. During that time—the first half of the next Parliament—part 3A development proposals
will continue to be approved at the discretion of the Minister for Planning. The only difference will be that the
Minister will be from the Coalition and not from the Australian Labor Party. The approval the Minister will
inevitably be giving to Lend Lease's amended concept plan later this year will be delivered by the planning
Minister, a politician, after the flawed assessment process under part 3A. Any approval obtained under this
system will have no credibility.
         The Coalition will likely form government following March 2011. To date it has not committed to any
position in regards to Barangaroo, other than to complain about the lack of community consultation and to make
generalised complaints about part 3A. Effectively, Mr O'Farrell has said to the people of Sydney that if there is
an approval on the books he will not be able to unscramble the eggs following his election in March 2011. That
is not good enough. The Coalition must come out now and say that it regards any part 3A approval for
Barangaroo as fundamentally flawed. The Coalition needs to tell the people of Sydney—the people of New
South Wales—and Lend Lease that it will repeal any approval given by the planning Minister. Further, the
Coalition needs to tell all of New South Wales, but particularly Lend Lease, that it will not provide, at New
South Wales taxpayers' cost, any compensation for any building work undertaken or other expenses incurred by
Lend Lease as a result of any approval that Lend Lease obtains under this flawed part 3A process.
         From March 2011 the Coalition will likely have the power to do all of this. It has no constitutional or
legal restraints in relation to these actions under the New South Wales and Australian constitutional law. The
Coalition will have the power, but will it have the courage?

                                             STATE ECONOMY
          The Hon. SOPHIE COTSIS [6.49 p.m.]: I bring to the attention of the House the strength of the New
South Wales economy. Today Treasurer Eric Roozendaal announced that New South Wales has recorded seven
straight quarters of economic growth and remains the strongest force in the national economy. In the 2009-10
financial year, the New South Wales economy grew by 5.7 per cent. The workers of this State are integral to the
development of the New South Wales economy and the Keneally Government has recognised the importance of
their role by providing up-skilling opportunities.
         In 2010-11, $2 billion has been committed to vocational education and training and more than
$200 million has been invested in youth programs. In addition, $27 million has been spent on the Learn or Earn
Program, which boosts training opportunities and provides apprenticeships for young people. About $25 million
has been allocated to provide 2,000 New South Wales public sector cadetships and approximately $35 million
has been allocated for 4,000 apprenticeships for young people working on government construction projects
over four years. In addition, $11.4 million has been committed over two years to support unemployed young
people to return to education, training or employment. This has contributed to a 1.3 decline in the New South
Wales unemployment rate since March 2009, which is better than the decline in that rate in any other State
in Australia.
[Time for debate expired.]
        Question—That this House do now adjourn—put and resolved in the affirmative.
        Motion agreed to.
             The House adjourned at 6.51 p.m. until Thursday 2 December 2010 at 11.00 a.m.
                                                ____________

								
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